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Summary:

Want to add Airplay-like functionality to your Android phone or tablet? Then take a look at Skifta, which just went out of beta, and utilizes DLNA to share media in your home. It’s part of Qualcomm’s strategy to make the connected home more appealing to consumers.

skifta

Qualcomm Atheros is releasing version 1.0 of its mobile media management app Skifta on Wednesday. Skifta, which has been in beta for close to a year, utilizes DLNA to give Android devices similar functionality as Apple’s Airplay protocol. But for Qualcomm, it’s not so much about promoting an open solution that competes with Apple – it’s about getting consumers familiar with the general idea

Skifta was originally released in December of 2010 and became the first software application to be DLNA-certified earlier this year. So what’s DLNA? It’s a home media networking protocol that is supported by a whole range of CE products ranging from Sony’s PS3 to connected TVs, Blu-ray players and NAS drives. Skifta can access media stored on DLNA devices as well as play media back on some of these devices. For example, users can stream a video straight from their Android cell phone to a DLNA-certified TV.

The problem with DLNA is that it’s still largely unknown. Qualcomm Atheros Director of Product Marketing for the Networking Business Unit Gary Brotman told me earlier this week that there are now an estimated 500 million DLNA devices in the market – but most consumers simply don’t know how to utilize the protocol. “We look at it as latent demand,” said Brotman.

Qualcomm now wants to wake that demand by getting people to play with home media sharing, which could be the first step towards embracing the concept of the connected home. To make this even easier, Skifta is also introducing a media sharing application for Mac OS, Windows and Linux that turns the home computer into a media server. Another feature added to the new version is support for 3G video viewing, which makes it possible to consume home media libraries remotely.

Skifta is free to end users, and Brotman said that Qualcomm doesn’t have any immediate plans for generating revenue with the app. He did mention that Sifta could theoretically help people to sell media in the future. Skifta is already able to access media collections from Facebook, Flickr, Revision3 and other third-part sites, and Brotman that his team is working on adding additional content channels in the future.

Learn more about new technologies for connected consumers at our Roadmap conference, coming up in San Francisco on November 10.

  1. [quote]..Problem with DLNA is that it is still largely unknown..[/quote]

    I would say that it is not user firendly. More often than not, users end up being disappointed with the DLNA features because it doesn’t help them achieve what they wanted (case in point: Playing a 1080p HD video over DLNA to a Sony TV: The Sony TVs are DLNA certified, but not for the profile which supports high definition content). With these multiple profiles (which are not clearly spelt out by the manufacturers also), it is no wonder consumers end up with bad experiences. I am no Apple fan, but AirPlay has more scope to succeed compared to DLNA, because such features are inherently built for success in walled gardens.

    A more detailed technical description of the issues with DLNA is here: http://t.co/jPD1EnM8 ; It exists just to make up for the deficiencies of the products involved.

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    1. Sony is the problem. It is almost a lie to say that sony tvs support dlna

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  2. Skifta is cool but the content is very limited to a set of channels they support (around 12).

    Self Promotion:
    Today, we released a similar App (Free) to the Android market place that uses DLNA to send any HTML5 videos (including GigaOm) to your TV – just like AirPlay does but to larger set of devices.

    Please check it out at
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.dayglows.vivid.lite

    -ravi

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  3. I found the Twonky app better because I can use it with my AppleTV; somehow, the Twonky app connect to the AppleTV. It has support for both DLNA and Airplay. The AppleTV is much cheaper than buying a “smart TV”. It also support YouTube.

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