Learn More About Digital Media and Networks

The specifications for sharing media over a network aren't proprietary to Windows. Instead, they represent published standards from a group called the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), which was founded in 2003. DLNA standards define the capabilities of PCs and consumer electronics devices. In theory, you should be able to purchase a DLNA-certified media player for your living room and have confidence that you'll be able to stream media files to it from your Windows 7 PC. For more on the DLNA standards and compatible devices, check out the organization's website at dlna.org. V_J

For more precise control over which devices are allowed to access your media library and which ones are blocked, click Stream and then click More Streaming Options . That opens the dialog box shown in Figure 13-1 .

Figure 13-1 This list of devices capable of accessing a shared media library includes other PCs as well as digital media devices.

This dialog box is busy and filled with options, so it's worth taking a closer look. At the top of the dialog box, you have the option to give your library a descriptive name that will appear on network devices in the navigation pane under Other Libraries; the default is your user account name. The list in Figure 13-1 includes a pair of digital media devices (an HP MediaSmart server and a D-Link digital media server identified as My Media Player). Using this dialog box, you can instantly block access to all listed devices by clicking Block All. To allow or block an individual PC or device, use the drop-down menu to its right.

In the next section, we explain how to play media files once these configuration chores are complete .

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