The MHL Consortium recently announced the next-generation of MHL technology for consumer electronic and mobile devices. While Super MHL delivers higher resolution and frame rates along with 40W of power charging, it also gives MHL a look in into the home theater range by supporting 8K video resolution and more audio formats.
But what is MHL and what are its benefits in comparison to HDMI, which it is trying to replace? Vipin Sawhney, Country Manager, Silicon Image which creates MHL, explains:
What is MHL?
MHL technology allows you to connect your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device to TVs, monitors, projectors, in-dash automotive displays, audio-video receivers (AVRs) and a rapidly expanding ecosystem of other products.
Developed by Silicon Image as a member of the MHL Consortium (along with Nokia, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba) MHL technology features a single-cable, 5-pin digital interface that transmits video up to 4K UHD resolution and surround audio while simultaneously providing power to your mobile device.
MHL technology is optimised for mobiles as it allows users to send uncompressed high definition video, data, audio and power over a single connector. The MHL specification enables companies to leverage popular connectors already present on many mobile devices and displays, including Micro-USB and HDMI® Type A, in addition to proprietary connectors. Once connected, you can use the TV’s remote control to stop, play, pause and rewind movies and TV programs on your phone for a true lean back experience.
Today, MHL is found in more than 650 million products.
What is Silicon Image?
Founded in 1995, Silicon Image is a leading provider of multimedia connectivity solutions and services for mobiles, consumer electronics and PC. For the last 20 years Silicon Image has been delivering connectivity solutions across a wide array of devices including mobile phones, tablets, DTVs, Blu-ray Disc™ players, audio-video receivers as well as desktop and notebook PCs. Silicon Image, along with Samsung, Toshiba, Sony and Nokia, developed MHL or Mobile High-Definition Link which allows consumers to connect their devices (smartphones, tablets, media sticks) to larger displays, all while charging back the device.
Silicon Image delivers its products via semiconductor and intellectual property products that are compliant with global industry standards. The company has developed highly successful HDMI and DVI industry standards and now MHL, which is the de-facto standard for mobile-to-display connectivity.
What is the future of MHL?
MHL founders are all top-tier brands that want to ensure we are on the forefront of technology. While we cannot provide any forward looking statements in terms of our technology, we are very excited about the many different use cases that are possible with MHL technology.
In automobiles is can connect your phone to an infotainment unit to access GPS, music and other apps. In education is can be used to connect a phone to a projector instead of an expensive laptop to display classwork, lessons, and more. There are professional uses too, like connecting your smartphone to your TV monitor and pairing a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to work anytime, anywhere. In the medical sector MHL devices will give doctors access to patient files in secure and portable way, in airplanes and gyms they can be used by passengers to connect their mobile devices to seatbacks and elliptical trainers. MHL can be used as a thin client interface that is secure and portable that can be used in various industries such as medical, business, and education.
What other innovations are Silicon Image working on?
Silicon Image is a leading provider of multimedia connectivity solutions and services for mobile, consumer electronics and PC markets. Silicon Image’s semiconductor and intellectual property products feature wireless and wired technologies that deliver connectivity across a wide array of devices in the home, office and on the go. Silicon Image has driven the creation of the industry standards HDMI, DVI, MHL and WirelessHD.
Recently, MHL, LLC announced its 3.0 specification to address the latest consumer requirements for connecting a mobile device to displays, marking major advancements in the areas of audio and video transmission over an MHL link. The first products to include the latest MHL specification were the Sony Xperia Tablet Z2, the Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone, the Samsung S9, U8500 and U7500 TV series, and Sony X950B and X900B TV series. MHL can be used with any phone that outputs video through a connector. It is also OS agnostic.
Where can you buy MHL cables?
MHL cables and adapters are available online on various e-commerce sites such as amazon.in, flipkart.com, shopclues.com and many more. On the retail side, Sony stores stock MHL cables, Samsung stores stock MHL-to-HDMI adapters, and many multi-brand outlets stock MHL accessories. The price of the cables and adapters is at the discretion of manufacturer and retailer.