You're most likely looking for an uPnP control point software (see e.g. DLNA Server/Control Point like Windows Media Player on our sister site). To my knowledge, there are only few products available for Ubuntu. One is what that post mentions (and which I've tried as well myself):
GUPnP (also available at Github) a.o. contain an "Universal Control Point" they describe as
a tool that enables one to discover UPnP devices and services, retrieve information about them, subscribe to events and invoke actions.
as well as an "AV Control Point"
a simple media player UI that enables one to discover and play multimedia contents available on a network. It is strictly a control point and therefore does not have any playback capabilities of it's own and relies on external UPnP MediaRenderer devices for actual playback.
GUPnP (source: Ubuntu Apps, JorgenModin; click images for larger variants)
While this is most useful for developers, it's a bit tricky to end-users – but definitely worth a look. Available from the Ubuntu repositories, so you can simply
sudo apt-get install gupnp-tools
There's also Kinsky, looking very colorful – but I felt it quite heavy (also for its dependencies). Not available from the official repositories, you'd have to install it manually.
Kinsky (source: Kinsky homepage; click image for larger variant)
What I'm using most is eezUPnP – which you also find recommended on our sister site:
eezUPnP (source: AskUbuntu, Heise; click images for larger variants)
This tool is pretty handy. You can use it to play your local media (audio, images, videos), like the left screenshot shows, as well as those provided by any reachable UPnP device – see the right screenshot: On the left you select the device to browse the files from ("UPnP server"), and on the right the device to play them on ("UPnP renderer"). Works pretty well for me with my devices: playing my local MP3 files directly on my Onkyo receiver, or sending videos to my Samsung TV. You can send a single file or entire collections (like playlists) – and completely control the "renderer" from your laptop.
Though eezUPnP isn't available from the official Ubuntu repositories, installation is easy: Download the tarball from their site, and unpack it where you like it to stay – that's it, you can run it from there.