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Difference Between UPnP and DLNA in Digital Home


As our homes are beginning to enter the digital age, a new set of parameters must be established in order to create fully compatible and interconnected devices. This is where UPnP and DLNA come into play. The main difference between UPnP and DLNA is the scope that they cover. UPnP is basically just a set of protocols that allow different devices to discover each other and use the services that they have. In comparison, DLNA covers a much broader scope that includes interconnection, formats, management systems, and content protection systems.

UPnP is actually enough if you just want to interconnect different devices so that you can control and move media from one device to another. But unless you ensure that the devices are able to recognize and decode the media, there is no assurance that you will be able to play the media in the destination. This is where DLNA comes in. DLNA uses UPnP for interconnection purposes so that the DLNA certified devices can find each other and communicate. But the additional standards established by DLNA eliminated the additional hassle of ensuring compatibility between devices. Having DLNA certified devices make it possible for non-technical people easily interconnect the devices.

Because DLNA is a very young standard, it is still not very common to find devices that support it. In contrast, UPnP is relatively mature and is supported by many devices. But due to the advantages of DLNA, many electronics manufacturers are rushing to add support for it in their new devices. It is only a matter of time before DLNA becomes a given in majority of home appliances.

Because DLNA is a superset of UPnP, it goes without saying that a DLNA capable device would also be capable of UPnP. So if you already have a UPnP setup in your home, you can slowly add DLNA capable devices to migrate your setup eventually.

A digital home is an inevitable future. The only problem is how to get there. DLNA is the next logical step to UPnP and the convenience it provides brings us closer to a truly digital home setup.


  1. UPnP are networking protocols while DLNA is a device standard
  2. DLNA uses UPnP in discovering and controlling  devices
  3. DLNA sets restrictions that are not established by UPnP
  4. More devices support UPnP than DLNA
  5. DLNA capable devices are also capable of UPnP

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1 Comment

  1. You said DLNA is a superset of UPnP, but what you should have said is the opposite: DLNA is a subset of UPnP. It is UPnP with a bunch of restrictions preventing you from doing many of the things UPnP allows (like streaming mkv files).

    DLNA is, overall, a bad thing.

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