ISO/IEC 29341-20-12:2017 specifies the characteristics of the UPnP networked service named ContentDirectory, version 4. This service definition is compliant with UPnP Device Architecture 1.0 .
Many devices within the home network contain various types of content that other devices would like to access (for example, music, videos, still images, etc). As an example, a MediaServer device might contain a significant portion of the homeowner's audio, video, and still-image library. In order for the homeowner to enjoy this content, the homeowner needs to be able to browse the objects stored on the MediaServer, select a specific one, and cause it to be played on an appropriate rendering device (for example, an audio player for music objects, a TV for video content, an Electronic Picture Frame for still-images, etc).
For maximum convenience, it is highly desirable to let the homeowner to initiate these operations from a variety of UI devices. In most cases, these UI devices will either be a UI built into the rendering device, or it will be a stand-alone UI device such as a wireless PDA or tablet. In any case, it is unlikely that the homeowner will interact directly with the device containing the content (that is: the homeowner won't have to walk over to the server device). In order to enable this capability, the server device needs to provide a uniform mechanism for UI devices to browse the content on the server and to obtain detailed information about individual content objects. This is the purpose of the ContentDirectory service.
The ContentDirectory service additionally provides a lookup/storage service that enables clients (for example, UI devices) to locate (and possibly store) individual objects (for example, songs, movies, pictures, etc) that the (server) device is capable of providing. For example, this service can be used to enumerate a list of songs stored on an MP3 player, a list of still-images comprising various slide-shows, a list of movies stored in a DVD-Jukebox, a list of TV shows currently being broadcast (a.k.a an EPG), a list of songs stored in a CD-Jukebox, a list of programs stored on a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) device, etc. Nearly any type of content can be enumerated via this ContentDirectory service. For devices that contain multiple types of content (for example, MP3, MPEG2, JPEG, etc.), a single instance of the ContentDirectory service can be used to enumerate all objects, regardless of their type.