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May 08 2009

Will Windows 7 Move Networked Home from Whiteboard to Reality?

dlna_logoRecently Windows 7 reached Release Candidate status; a signal that within the calendar year we would see Windows 7 shipping.

One interesting addition to Windows 7 is functionality titled Play To. Play To utilizes networking standards from DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), and the theory goes that one should now be able to get content from the PC to previously difficult to reach network attached devices; the network attached digital picture frame, storage device, television, gaming system, etc.

A true digital home has been a long time coming and it certainly appears that Microsoft is taking a big step forward with Windows 7; helping consumers move their most valuable assets – photos, video, music – out of the office or den and into the living room for all to enjoy.

Although DLNA has been around for a number of years, this step by Microsoft could be the true coming out party for the standard. Microsoft has provided a software solution that will fully realize the capability of DLNA hardware standards.

To ensure that consumers can play to devices that Microsoft is promising; devices need to properly implement DLNA. Device manufacturers hoping to ensure their latest products will give consumers the experience they expect should incorporate DLNA standards and test devices for compliance and certification. Retailers too should watch carefully to ensure that products on their shelves have passed the benchmarks of DLNA Certification from an authorized test facility – if not retailers could face frustrated consumers returning shredded boxes.

Good first steps to ensure Plays To compatible:

  • Work with a test lab to achieve DLNA compliance
  • Test to, and become compliant with Windows Hardware Compatibility requirements
  • Conduct market testing to benchmark solutions against others currently offered in the market