Simplify printing using DLNA

-April 29, 2013

Austin Pond's post, "DLNA 1.5 Device Classes - Why So Many?” briefly mentioned DMPrs (digital media printers) and +PR1+ and +PR2+ capabilities, which send media to DMPrs. Since these function a bit differently than other DLNA devices, I will go into more detail about devices with these functionalities.

In a typical DLNA print setup, the user sends media stored on a +PR1+ device to a DMPr. The printer then requests the image from the location it was given by the +PR1+ device and proceeds to print it out when the information is received. Imagine you have a Smartphone that is a media server with +PR1+ capability, and that you have a printer that is a DMPr. To print via DLNA, simply use your Smartphone’s DLNA app to tell the printer to print a particular image.

You can also use a +PR2+ device and a digital media server (DMS) in place of a +PR1+ device. The +PR2+ device acts like a remote and tells the DMPr the location of the image on the media server's storage. The DMPr goes through the same steps, regardless of whether the image is located on the device that the user directly controls. Imagine again that you have a Smartphone and DMPr on the same network, but this time the phone has +PR2+ capability and you want to print media that is not stored on your phone. You also have a DMS device on the same network as the phone and printer. You can use the +PR2+ device to browse the DMS's content, and the +PR2+ device tells the printer where that image is located on the DMS. Just as before, the printer requests that image from the media server and prints it out.

Simplicity is the greatest selling point of DMPrs. Printing using DLNA is incredibly simple to do in a home network. It also decreases time spent printing, since files can be printed directly from a smartphone or similar device using DLNA, rather than requiring the user to be at a computer, navigate through all media, and open the files in order to print them out.

DMPrs are also incredibly easy to set up on a network. Users no longer have to go through the tedious process of finding the printer on the network and adding it to their  list of printers, nor are there issues with print drivers. Since all DLNA certified devices have to go through rigorous interoperability and conformance testing, all certified DLNA products are able to interoperate together without significant problems. For example, consumers can use a Samsung Smartphone to print an image that is on a Netgear network storage device using a Hewlett-Packard printer, without worrying that they will not work together. Once the DMPr is connected to the network, users can expect full functionality without hiccups.

In order to gain this kind of confidence in device interoperability, all DLNA Independent Certification Vendors must put their devices though rigorous interoperability and conformance testing, like the tests we perform here at the UNH-IOL. Keep an eye out for my next post, "DLNA Certification - Interoperability and Conformance Testing," where I will discuss this process.

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