What has changed with DLNA/Media Streaming between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10?

With Windows 10 Microsoft have made changes to media streaming DLNA/UPnP features of Windows and not all of them for the better. The main change is the removal of DLNA features from the Groove Music app (which was called Xbox Music on Windows 8.1). With Windows 8.1 you could use the device charm to play your personal music collection on a DLNA devices like Sonos, Smart TVs and other PCs (it wouldn’t stream music from the store or a music pass).

The new Movies & TV app does have media streaming features built in. There is a Cast To Device button in the now playing screen that you can use to stream videos from Windows 10 to a DLNA video player like an Xbox One, Smart TV or another PC. It only seems to work with personal videos and not videos from purchased from the store. This is the same functionality as the Windows 8.1 Xbox Video using the Devices charm. You could also use Screen Sharing (Miracast) but that is something for another post.

When it comes to be receiving content from other PCs and DLNA devices neither Groove Music (Xbox Music on Windows 8.1) nor Movies & TV (Xbox Video on Windows 8.1) can work as a DLNA player but you do have the old faithful Windows Media Player which you can use if you have “Allow remote control of my Player” switched on. In fact Windows Media Player can be used as a streamer and receiver plus you can also browse DLNA media libraries on your home network, something you can’t do from the other apps.

Windows Media Player is also the app that File Explorer users when you right click on a media file and select Cast To (Play To on Windows 8.1). With Cast To you can stream music or videos to other DLNA devices on your network via File Explorer. So in 2015 with the latest version of Windows you are still using Windows Media Player to handle media streaming!

So upgrading to Windows 10 doesn’t mean you lose any functionality but you do have to fall back to using Windows Media Player, and there is no way of streaming Groove Music pass content from any of the apps.

Some of the features have been renamed, Play To becomes Cast To and Charms have been replaced with buttons in the apps. Please let me know if you find any other changes and I will update the table.

Coming soon Garry Whittaker and I have a new book on Windows 10 Entertainment app where we look in-depth at Windows 10 media apps, streaming and more.

Our book is available now! Find out how to use Windows 10 with iTunes, Google Music, Groove, Netflix, DLNA and media servers.

Here is a table of features:

Feature Windows 8.1 Windows 10
Stream Music to a DLNA Player with Groove Music / Xbox Music Yes for your own music collection (using Device Charm) No
Stream Music from Windows Media Player Yes Yes
Stream from File Explorer (uses Windows Media Player) Yes (called Play To) Yes (called Cast To)
Act as DLNA receiver (receive music and video) Yes (with Windows Media Player) Yes (with Windows Media Player)
Stream Video to a with Movies & TV / Xbox Video Yes (with Devices Charm) Yes (with “Cast To Device” from the app)
Connect to a remote media library (via DLNA) Yes (with Windows Media Player) Yes (with Windows Media Player)

 

 

 

About the author Ian Dixon:
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.

7 thoughts on “What has changed with DLNA/Media Streaming between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10?”

  1. Geoff Coupe says:

    These changes are by design: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/insider_wintp-insider_devices/why-doesnt-my-denon-receiver-show-up-in-the-action/fb72ec52-22e8-4943-a201-6ec43403fc35
    I’m not convinced that they are for the better. The DLNA experience has just got worse in Windows 10.

    1. Ian Dixon says:

      It is worse as Groove doesn’t support streaming. Would like to see that added back in ASAP and include DRMed playback

  2. DWAnderson says:

    Remember when the EU made MS offer a version of Windows without Media Player because they feared this would foreclose opportunities for other media players. Sure looks like a different world now doesn’t it!
    In checking out third party media players you may want to look at J River Media Center which has a host of useful capabilities– most important to me is a DLNA server that you can customize more than any other I have seen (although using a number of features is not obvious).

  3. Mike M says:

    Every time MS ‘update’ their media (especially music) based software, the new version is less useful than the last. Just compare WMP11 to Zune, then Zune to Xbox Music, and now Xbox Music to Groove Music.
    Although, with all the extras WMP has gotten ‘by accident’ i.e. DLNA, FLAC and MVK support, its a great all round media player. And may get better if it gets DVD support as a replacement for WMC users who upgrade to Windows 10.

  4. Slam says:

    My media streaming has stopped working after upgrading to Windows 10. 7 used to work perfectly, and my entire movie library could be streamed to my Sony TV.

    Now it stoped after 20 minutes, and streaming needs to be turned back on after every reboot.

    Not impressed

  5. goose66 says:

    One feature lost appears to be playlists over DLNA. I used to be able to access my playlists from the DLNA client on my AVR, but now I can’t. This happened around the time of switch to Windows 10, although I also got a new Denon AVR as well. But from what I read online, losing playlists through DLNA is a Windows 10 dropped feature.

    1. TheIdiot says:

      It’s not necessarily all playlists that are lost from what I’ve seen, just Auto-Playlists. I use Auto Playlists pretty extensively and while on my Onkyo they show up in the list, the playlists themselves are empty. I am trying to find a solution for this myself.

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