Home Media aka DLNA

Home Media refers to the ability for the PVR to act as a DLNA client and server, i.e. play content from a DLNA media server on the network, or serve content to clients on the network via DLNA.

To act as a DLNA server you first need to share out folders such as the Recordings folder, DataFiles. Once you exit the menus, the serving capability is started. The DLNA Player codec support is limited. You cannot assume that codec recognised by the Topfield Meida Player will also be recognised by the Home Media player.

Some DLNA players refuse to play files recorded from free to air transmission by PVR due to the transmission stream not including the the requisite MPEG2 ts header.

There are several limitations though to the implementation. For example, you cannot skip, fast forward, or rewind during playback.

See Topfield's Home Media Guide for more information.

DLNA and Topfield PVRs: TRF-2460 Masterpiece HD; TRF-2460 Masterpiece HD Plus; TRF-2470; TF-T6000; TF-T6211

What is DLNA and what does it mean to 2400/2460/2470 owners?1

What is DLNA?

DLNA refers to devices that meet the requirements of the Digital Living Network Alliance, hence DLNA (see http://www.dlna.org). A general outline of the nature and development of DLNA is given in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance).

DLNA is directed to facilitating the sharing of digital material over computer networks. There are two categories of DLNA devices; those that are certified and those that are not. At this stage, Toppy’s do not claim to be DLNA certified. When using a Toppy, it will be primarily sharing digital content over a home network.

There are six categories of DLNA devices:

Digital Media Servers (DMS) store content and make it available to network digital media players (DMP) and mobile digital media players (M-DMP), digital media renderers (DMR) and digital media printers (DMPr). Some examples of digital media servers include PCs and network attached storage (NAS).

Digital Media Player (DMP) find content offered by a DMS or M-DMS and provide playback and rendering capabilities. DMPs are not visible to other devices on the network such as Digital Media Controllers (DMC or M-DMC).

Digital Media Renderer (DMR): similar to DMPs in that they render or play content received from a DMS or M-DMS. However, DMRs are unable to find content on the network, and must be set up by a Digital Media Controller (DMC or M-DMC).

Digital Media Controller (DMC): find content offered by a DMS or M-DMS and match it to the rendering capabilities of a DMR - setting up the connections between the DMS and DMR.

Mobile Digital Media Server (M-DMS): store content and make it available to networked digital media players (DMP), mobile digital media players (M-DMP), digital media renderers (DMR) and digital media printers (DMPr). M-DMS devices differ from DMS devices in that they support fromats more suitable for mobile devices.

Mobile Digital Media Players (M-DMP): find content offered by a DMS or M-DMS and provide playback and rendering capabilities. M-DMPs are not visible to other devices on the network such as Digital Media Controllers (DMC). M-DMPs differ from FMPs in that they support formats more suitable for mobile devices.

DLNA and your Toppy

The DLNA Toppy firmware allows Toppy’s to act as both a server and a player. As DLNA media servers, a Toppy is adequate. However, at this stage they cannot be recommended as media players because you have almost no control over the playing of the file: you cannot fast-forward or fast-rewind, make bookmarks. It is painful to watch unedited recordings made with a Toppy using a Toppy as a DLNA player. At this stage you get a better user experience by transferring media files to the Media directory on the Toppy by ftp (you can fast forward by pressing the play button and then using the cursor control).

What you can do when using the Toppy as a DLNA media server primarily depends on the DLNA player that is being used to access the content on the Toppy. Players can support basic control functions such as forward, fast-forward, rewind, fast-rewind, bookmarks and remembering where you stopped playing a file last time it was played. The resulting user experience when using the Toppy as a DLNA media server is primarily affected by what the media player can do and the ability to get content from the server to the player (the latter can be a problem when wireless rather than wired network connections are involved).

Setting up DLNA on a Toppy (TMS Toppys: TRF-2400; TRF-2460; TRF-2470)

To set up DLNA on a Toppy with firmware that supports DLNA, use the following procedure

1. Press the Menu button
2. Select Entertaiment using the cursor and click OK.
3. Move the cursor to Home media and click OK.

You are now presented with three ‘options’ for home media:

1. Share Device List

2. File manager

3. DMS name

Setting up the Toppy as a media server

Unexpectedly, you set up the Toppy as a media server using the File manager. In the file manager, you select the folders that can be accessed by DLNA players. When you select File manager you are presented with two options, My HardDisk which is the Toppy’s internal hard disk drive, and External. (If there is no external drive attached, the External option may not be present or it may be greyed out.)

Setting up sharing of media files on the Toppy’s hard disk drive is simple, you select My HardDisk using the cursor, and click OK, which brings up the click Share Settings menu, which only has one item, so just click OK. You then use the cursor to select the folder that you wish to share.

Setting up sharing of media files on an external hard disk drive is also straightforward. You move the cursor to External and click OK. A listing of attached external drives is presented, use the cursor to select a drive, and click OK. You can only share media folders on an external hard disk drive, files in the root folder rather and a ‘sub-folder” cannot be shared. (Granting shared access to root folder is a security risk, so that is presumably the reason why this cannot be done.) You can share folders on multiple external hard disk drives up to 4 drives (three USB and one eSATA). Sharing is probably by partition, so each partition on the external HDD will need to be shared.

Giving your Toppy a unique name

You can change the name by which the Toppy media server is known to other DLNA devices using DMS name. Use this option when you have more than on Toppy that is acting as a DLNA server to avoid confusion.

Using the Toppy as a media player

To use the Toppy as a media player, you select Share Device List, and select the media server whose files you wish to play. Included in the listing will be the Toppy itself.

You select the media player you wish to use then find the file that you wish to play. If the media server you are accessing has a large number of media files, it can take a long time to bring up the full file list. You can then play a file by pressing the Play button.

Rather than playing the file, you can save it to the Toppy’s internal hard disk drive by pressing the Yellow button. This is useful when there is a slow network connection to the DLNA server may result in stuttering when viewing the file. Once the file has been saved, it can be played by selecting the Toppy as the media server, and going to the “Incoming” folder where the streamed file is placed by the Toppy. (Such saved files cannot be played using the Toppy media player as they are in the wrong folder but they can be moved via a TAP.)

DLNA and Topfield PVRs: TF-T6000

DLNA implementation on the TF-T6000 is different. To date I have only used pre-release beta firmware which may well differ from the release firmware. Once I have tested the release firmware I will provide an update.

DLNA and Topfield PVRs: TF-T6211

[Information still to be added]

Caution: The DLNA features of Toppy’s are at an early stage of development and are not yet documented. The information presented here is the result of my own limited experience of using DLNA on my 2400 and reports on the Topfield Australia forum by other users. So, do not be surprised if things do not work as expected!

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