Sunday, 21 February 2016 19:03

DLNA, Streaming, Miracast, Casting, MHL and Media Servers explained

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So you want to cast/stream your media/phone/pc to another device, what now?

I will go through all the available technologies which allow you to do this and by the end of this article you will be able to pick and choose the setup which is best for you. I will be using an android phone and a Windows 10 PC but a lot of the information can be translated to IOS and Mac as we will be using standard technologies.

Basic Technology Groups

It is important to know the different terms and technologies before starting doing any streaming.

  • Streaming (via DLNA/UPnP) - Streaming is playing media file from a remote device on the local device (i.e. the one you are using)
  • Screen Casting / Screen Mirroring - Is used to transmit/send your whole to another device to get displayed there.
  • MHL – This is a technology to allow usually phones to display HDMI via the USB port and also for the TV to supply power to the phone or device. The only different between a HDMI socket and a MHL sockets is that the MHL enabled HDMI socket supplies power. Both the HDMI socket types can be used by any HDMI device. This requires a physical connection between the phone and the TV via a MHL cable (basically a micro-USB to HDMI cable)
  • Remote Control – This is where you use software to establish remote connection to the target device which is then displayed on your computer usually with the ability to control it. This is almost like Remote Desktop for windows.
  • Other Streaming – There are other ways of streaming but they are not covered here.

These technologies have many parts to them which I will go into more depth below and how they work and then ultimately how to use them.

DNLA (Streaming Via DNLA/UPnP protocol)

DLNA Components
Thousands of "DLNA Certified" devices have been produced, falling into four broad categories:

  • Digital Media Server. These store media and make it available on the home network.
  • Digital Media Players. These can play content pulled from a Digital Media Server.
  • Digital Media Controllers. These can find content on a Digital Media Server and push it to a Digital Media Renderer.
  • Digital Media Renderers. These can play content pushed from a Digital Media Controller.

A DLNA App can be any combination of the components above.


  • UPnP/DLNA server
  • DNLA client - this is a software that can push media to a device to be played or read files from a DNLA server and watch locally
  • Renderer functionality - this allows you to push media to it and then that device plays it on its screen. Not all DLNA servers support this. I.e. BubbleUPnP and Samsung TVs. If the device does not have this feature or advertise it windows 10 will not find it when adding a device or be able to cast to it.
  • Don’t forget if you are in the other room your windows 10 will need authorizing on the TV for connection.
  • TVs generally are not holders of media and might not come up as a DNLA media server (my computer--> add device) with content when running as a TV and even when you have the AllShare app open, but only as an endpoint via cast screen because the DNLA server is pushing the fact it is a renderer endpoint and not a media server. What features that are on which television will change from model to model.
  • Renderer endpoints announce themselves and are  part of the DLNA protocol set.
  • the Windows thing is called "Play To" in Windows 8 and  "Cast To Device" in Windows 10
  • DNLA is for casting files and media, not your devices screen. This is know as Screen Mirroring or Screen Casting
  • UPnP is another name for DNLA. DLNA is the common name everyone uses though.
  • My Samsung TV appears under context menu when you right click on a media file the "Cast To Device" when you are watching TV (this is not the DNLA mode) but fails to respond.
  • DLNA does not require hardware but you can only cast files and videos, not the whole screen. There are workarouns but they are not perfect because DNLA was not designed for casting your screen, just media.
  • windows 10 does not receive but you can buy a small app to allow windows 10 to become a media renderer


  • don’t forget to mention about me running as a standard user I had to change to an administrator to turn this on, return as a standard user and then every things works as it should including permission upgrade (UAC prompt)
  • "media streaming not turned on" read the message properly and enable the "Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service" in the services by click on the link below the message or go to the services.msc
  • in windows  you can right click on videos and cast them to DNLA devices




Android Media Center

DNLA MKV Support

Kodi - Media Center

Cross Platform DLNA Apps

These apps will have installers for various platforms

Android DLNA Apps

Windows DLNA Apps

iPhone DLNA Apps



This technology only requires a MHL cable which can be specific to your phone to be connected, from your phone to a TV’s HDMI socket. If the HDMI socket is not a MHL socket the only thing that will not happen is that the phone will not get charged. There are no specific settings for this feature. When you connect the phone the image is then mirrored on your screen (assuming you have the HDMI channel selected)


  • There are 2 types of MHL connector that Samsung uses. 5p and 11p. For some reason later Samsung phones use the 11p configuration. (add phones here)
  • 5p is a standard MHL standard that most phones use
  • MHL is a standard that involves 2 parts
    • HDMI sockets (on TVs and monitors) that supply power down the cable to the device at the other end.
    • MHL is usually delivered through the micro USB socket on the mobile phone supplies a HDMI signal
  • You can get a 5p to 11p adapter that simply converts the pin configuration. This purely changes the location of the HDMI wires/pins
  • OTG (host USB) adapters are the same for both Samsung connection types (5p/11p)
  • If you plug in a 5p adapter to an 11p phone, the phone will charge normally but you will not have any HDMI output.
  • The HDMI output can be lost by a poor quality HDMI cable
  • I have confirmed that a HDMI v1.3 (shielded) works fine on my phone but a purported v1.4 premium cable did not work. You might also find that the cable can display a picture but can be intermittent. This is most likely down to a poor cable. Some TVs might also exhibit the same sort of intermittent display because their HDMI pickups are not that brilliant. The HDMI signal on older phones is about 500Ma and on the newer MHL standard about 900Ma so you can see there might be some issues arising from this as well.
  • The multi adapter I got is ok but you cannot plug in a USB pen drive and charge at the same time because the sockets are too close together. I would us a small USB extender in the adapters USB socket which will then allow you to use all devices at once.
  • The Samsung s2 adapter that I got is a 5p adapter with a 5p à 11p adapter. This means you can probably use it for more phones that the Samsung because most other phones will use the standard 5p arrangement. The charge feature should always use the same pins so should be safe. I am guessing that the USB (OTG) is a standard pinout as well.
  • If you are going to move your setup about often, using the adapter might not be the best for you because you could bust the socket on your phone, but for permanent setups or occasional use it is great.
  • You can buy an multi adapter and as long as it is 5p standard you can use a 5pà11p adapter to convert it to use later version of the Samsung phone ranges


Miracast / Screen Casting / Screen Mirroring

This generally needs specialist hardware, compatible WIFI cards on both the sender and receiver ?


  • you can cast to Miracast devices from windows win+p
  • windows does not have an inbuilt Miracast receiver, there is airplay software you can but that works + another
  • there is a project to turn Raspberry Pi into a Miracast device called Piracast
  • Chromecast possibly support Miracast standard
  • AirServer (Finally a software Miracast receiver) for windows -
  • Miracast uses Wi-Fi Direct technology so it requires hardware


General Articles

Windows Articles

Android Articles

iPhone Articles

Android Apps

  • EZCast - Official App and Hardware

Windows App


Android Remote Software

With this method you use software usually comprising of a client and a server application which talk to each other. Once the connection is established you can control the remote your device as well as seeing the screen on your client device.


Remote Android Apps

Although the section is called android apps there is client on a Windows PC to connect to the service on the android phone

Other Streaming

Stream PC desktop with VLC to DLNA  /  VLC Player Streaming to DNLA method

These methods tend to  uses an intermediary to transmit a raw compatabile DNLA stream to a DLNA device. You are able to select your desktop to be streamed. Why this is not a standard feature is beyond me.

Stream Desktop To DLNA Renderer

Other desktop streaming/mirroring


Kindle Cast


Read 5584 times Last modified on Sunday, 03 July 2016 15:05