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)
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
- What Is a Media Renderer? | Sound & Vision - Media renderer is another Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certification that is part of the home network streaming experience. It can play videos, photos and music that are sent to it from a media controller. I know of no devices that are exclusively media renderers. Typically the ability to accept media files is a feature of media streaming device. A media player is a device or a feature of a Smart TV or Blu-ray player. It finds videos, photos and music on media servers—PCs, NAS drives, connected hard drives—then displays a list of files.
- DLNA - What It Is and its Role In Home Entertainment
- Play To DLNA TV and DLNA explanation - Microsoft Community - A contributater goes in to detail about DNLA here and the different aspects of it.
- Rendering, Bubbleupnp, DLNA, Confusion | Android TV Forums - A human discussion about using DLNA and some basics onf how it works. The thread is also about Bubbleupnp.
- List of UPnP AV media servers and clients - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- What Is DLNA, And Is It Still Used?
- Everything you need to know about DLNA: The de facto home-entertainment network standard
- How to Turn Your Computer Into a DLNA Media Server | How To Geek
- Turn Windows 10 computer into a DLNA streaming server | The Windows Club
- Turn on or off Media Streaming in Windows 10
- Cannot "Turn on media streaming" - another Windows 7 user with - Microsoft Community
- I had this problem and found I could not "Turn on media streaming" because I was a standard user. The only way to fix this was to temporarily change my user to an administrator, enable media streaming and thn revert back to a standard user. After this everything worked fine. I used this solution on a Windows 10 PC.
- How to Use Non Certified Play To Devices in Windows 8.1 - Barbs Connected World
- How to stream your video collection from a PC to the Xbox One | Windows Central
- PS4 Media Player DNLA Server Setup PC (MKV,AVI,MP4,MPEG-2) 60FPS - YouTube
- How to watch MKV and other files on Xbox One - Kinect Forum page
Android Media Center
- How to Turn Your Android into a Killer Portable Media and Gaming Center
- Turn An Android Device Into A Pocket-Size Media Center | Popular Science
- Turn your old smartphone into a standalone media player
DNLA MKV Support
- Is it possible to stream MKV over DLNA?
- matroska - Windows 8 DLNA streaming of MKV files - Super User
- MKV files cannot be recognized by WMP 12 as video in the Videos - Microsoft Community
Kodi - Media Center
Cross Platform DLNA Apps
These apps will have installers for various platforms
- Kodi | Open Source Home Theater Software (Server/Player/Renderer)
- Explaining UPnP in Kodi 14 0 - YouTube
- How to Stream Kodi to Chromecast, Xbox One, DLNA Devices
- UPnP/Client - Kodi - Official Documentation
- Completely Free
- Currently when you cast a playlist to it, on the first track is played. This will perhaps get fixed in later versions of the software
- Kodi - gets picked up as a "cast to device" and presents itself as a media server. You can turn the screen off and it still plays music. Fully open source DNLA server. Kodi does not seem to accept the playlist from windows; it plays 1 track and then stops. This might be a setting in Kodi.
- "Cast To Device" is sending media to Kodi (an endpoint renderer), when you add Kodi as a device this is as a media server so you can get stuff from it.
- Plex - The free version is heavily crippled but people rave about this app. - Untested
- 6 UPnP / DLNA Servers For Streaming Media To Your Devices
Android DLNA Apps
- Kodi | Open Source Home Theater Software (Server/Player/Renderer) (see above)
- AllConnect - Play & Stream - A brilliant DLNA controller APP
- BubbleUPnP for DLNA/Chromecast (Server/Player/Controller?/Renderer)
- Excellent App
- Free and Pro Version
- very easy to use and works
- limited to 30mins for casting to via DNLA on the free version
- How To Use Bubble UPNP On A PC - YouTube
- [APP][4.0+][v2.7.1] BubbleUPnP - UPnP/DLNA/Chromecast Control Point and Renderer | XDA Developers - Feature list
- AllCast - By ClockworkMod, the free version is crippled. Features are that it is integrated with the cloud more.
- MediaHouse UPnP / DLNA Browser - untested
- SmartDlna - Untested
- UPnPlay - Untested
- Web Video Cast | Browser to TV - Untested
- DLNA Player - Untested
- Plex for Android - The free version is heavily crippled but people rave about this app. - Untested
- Best dlna server apps for android (Top 100) – AppCrawlr
- Best dlna player apps for android (Top 100) – AppCrawlr
- 11 best Android media center apps - Android Authority
- 5 of the Best DLNA Streaming Apps for Android - Make Tech Easier
- Top 10 DLNA Streaming Apps For android - Dreamcss
Windows DLNA Apps
- Kodi | Open Source Home Theater Software (Server/Player/Renderer) (see above)
- Windows Media Player (Server/Player/Renderer) (In-Built)
- 14 Free Windows Media Server Downloads
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
- MHL v SlimPort – What is the difference?
- MHL - Extending the capabilities of HDMI
- MHL is the future: provides HDMI-out and charges device at the same time
- What Is MHL? | Gizmodo
- MHL explained — top 5 things to do with MHL - Features | Know Your Mobile
- USB OTG and MHL information - Android Forums at AndroidCentral.com - some Technical information about MHL and OTG sockets and standards
- Samsung MHL to HDMI Adapter not working?? - Pg. 13 | Samsung Galaxy S III I9300, I9305 - A useful forum thread which also discusses the 5p to 11p adapter issue.
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 - http://www.airserver.com/PC#features
- Miracast uses Wi-Fi Direct technology so it requires hardware
- How to Cast & Stream from Windows 10
- How to Mirror Your Screen in Windows 10
- How to Use Miracast Screen Mirroring from Windows or Android | How To Geek
- How to use Miracast to mirror your device's screen wirelessly on your TV | PCWorld
- How to use Windows Miracast Display feature on Windows 10 - The Windows Bulletin
- Microsoft Edge - Cast Media to Device in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums
- Project to a wireless display with Miracast | Microsoft Support
- Testing DIAL, DLNA and Miracast on Windows 10
- Miracast: Everything to know about mirroring Android - CNET
- Mirror your smartphone or tablet to the TV with a Roku - CNET
- EZCast - Official App and Hardware
- AirServer - AirPlay, Mirroring and Miracast receiver for Mac OS X and Windows PC - AirServer is the most advanced screen mirroring receiver for Mac and PC. It allows you to receive AirPlay and Miracast feeds, similar to an Apple TV or an XBOX. It works with iOS, Android and Windows devices without any additional software. This is a software Micast and AirPlay receiver for PC and MAC.
- PlayTo Receiver – Windows Apps on Microsoft Store - The adds the ability to receieve DLNA Casts on your Windows PC.
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
- TightVNC / DroidVNC
- Webkey (ROOT REQUIRED) - a bit laggy but it works
- Weak Control Free - Free and Pro versions
- Mobizen | Your Android, Anywhere
- MyMobiler Android Keyboard & Display
- AllCast - By ClockworkMod Allcast works 'ish'
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.
- Screencast with VLC 2.0.1 Windows 7 - Tutorial - YouTube
- Can I get a stream for DLNA with vlc? - Stack Overflow
- DLNA compatible Desktop streams from VLC | doli capax
- VLC Media Player: Desktop Streaming - GROK Knowledge Base
Stream Desktop To DLNA Renderer
- Get your windows desktop on your DLNA TV - VR Sverige
- pc desktop to dlna tv - YouTube
- Streaming The Desktop to Your Smart TV Using a Local Network - Special Resources
- Live Desktop Streaming via DLNA on GNU/Linux | realmike.org
Other desktop streaming/mirroring
- How to Stream Your Windows 8 Screen to Android
- Mirroring360 – Share your devices' screen
- Reflector 2 | Wireless mirroring & streaming for Android, iOS & Chromebooks