Linux DLNA Media Server Tutorial


DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a standard set of guidelines to allow media to be shared between devices. DLNA uses the UPnP protocols to allow devices to communicate. It defines 3 types of device, servers, renderers, controllers. For example, you can use your phone as a controller and tell your TV to act as a renderer to play a video which is stored on a separate server.

Linux DLNA Servers

DLNA in MythTV

MythTV acts as a DLNA server by default. It will make your recordings and videos available to any DLNA devices on your network. For example, I can view all my recordings in excellent quality using my Android smartphone. If you have problems getting the DLNA server working, try this.

MythTV works well for sharing recordings, but I have found that it does not categorise music and videos very well. The solution is to use a dedicated DLNA server, MediaTomb.


MediaTomb is a dedicated DLNA server. It has a web interface which allows you to browse tyour filesystem and select which directory trees to share. I have found that it does an excellent job of sharing music and videos, categorisings them neatly to allow them to be browsed easily from a DLNA controller.

On Ubuntu, just install the mediatomb package:

Edit the MediaTomb config file as superuser:

sudo -e /etc/mediatomb/config.xml

Make sure the UI is enabled:

  <ui enabled="yes" show-tooltips="yes">

Restart the service:

sudo service mediatomb restart

Once installed, browse to the following link for the MediaTomb interface:

Use the interface to select the directory trees you wish to share by adding them with the "+" icon. It may take a while for MediaTomb to catalogue the files and make them available.

Once done, run up your media player on your phone or other DLNA device and it should automatically discover MediaTomb as a service. Once selected, you should be able to browse and play the content you have shared.

DLNA Clients


If your phone does not support DLNA by default or if you have problems with the in-built softwarem, give Skifta a try. I find it works very well as a DLNA controller on my HTC One S: