I was a bit sceptical about the DLNA capabilities of the PS3, because I read a lot of bad news on this fairly new “Interoperability Guidelines” concept. It sounded like a lot of trouble to go through to simply watch the photos and home videos on a TV. For weeks, I was not able to find a single site telling me how to install a DLNA server on my Mac, or where to find a decent one.
Altgough they’re hard to find, there are a few OSX DLNA servers out there. One of them is actually very good. Here’s what I found:
I found a DLNA server implemented in Java, and didn’t get it to work. It misses a Xerces library and I can not seem to get the right version added to the classpath. I decided this was not very “Mac like” and dumped it. Not being able to install software “out of the box” may be normal on Linux, but is unaccepatble on a Mac.
Then, I came across TwonkyMedia. This was the first DLNA server I actually got to work on my Mac, and had it serving video to my PS3. It is a strange (wonky?) piece of software, had no native GUI and only lives on your machine as a webapplication. The installer copies “TwonkyMediaServer.app” in your application folder, starts it, and then opens a browser which points to the local URL of it’s configuration screen.
At that moment, it already is serving clients, but when you try to access it with the PS3, you will get a protocol error. This is because TwonkyMedia does not come with a default server name. The PS3 aparently can not handle an empty server name. After filling it in and restarting Twonky, I could access it with the PS3.
TwonkyMedia does not look very Mac-like, and I don’t like the looks of the webpage it is serving. The installer leaves two webloc files on your desktop which point to the configuration screens. It’s a bit strange but it gets the job done.
Potentially Twonky can do a bit more than CyberMediaGate. Twonky can do some transcoding and other streaming stuff, but I did not try that because I simply wanted to see my photo’s and home video’s on my TV.
The trial version of Twonkymedia last for 30 days, but on the first day it already started acting up on me, and I had to restart it a few times while watching video. The look and feel, and the crashes didn’t feel like it was worth the $40 to me, so I uninstalled it.
Uninstalling TwonkyMedia requires you to kill the process from the Terminal, and then drag TwonkyMediaServer.app to your trashcan. Another way is dragging the app to the trashcan and then restarting your Mac (not mac-like but it works).
The nullriver homepage looked very elegant, and promising. A simple page explains what it is, what it does, and what it costs. Nullriver also allows you to send requests and reports on their site without registering (in contract with TwonkyMedia, to which you have to “sell your soul”)
Nullriver Medialink comes as a preference pane application, and has a beautifuly simple interface, with not many options. It integrates with your mac applications like iTunes, iPhoto and now even Aperture. It does not have all the fancy configuration options of TwonkyMedia. One of my small complaints is that your content is shared to all DLNA clients on your local network, which may not be what you want if you have more than one DLNA client.
For me MediaLink is a perfect fit. I control my own network, my PS3 is my only DLNA client so I don’t need the fancy stuff. Most people will be perfectly happy with Medialink. It’s simple, transparent, drag-and-drop, has a “stop” button and is cheap. It does not have all the fancy features, but all the features that are in there work flawlessly.
I played with it for more than a week now, and so far it hasn’t crashed on me. I did need to buy a registration key, because the trial version only lasts you for about 30 minutes of watching content (which should be plenty to try it out, and it’s not like the 20 bucks are going to kill you).
Once again, all DLNA servers I tried put together:
|CyberMediaGate||Free||Terrible, unable to install.|
|TwonkyMedia||$40||Works, lots of features, no GUI, buggy/ Crashed on me more than once.|
|MediaLink||$20||Simple, stable, nice GUI, best value for money. Just works.|
So if you have a PS3 and a Mac, it’s a no-brainer. Buy Medialink!