People want the most out of their devices

Written by BV Mahalakshmi | Updated: May 27 2013, 06:36am hrs
MHL stands for Mobile High-Definition Link and is a technology found in many devices, displays and accessories today. If you have a leading Android phone then theres a good chance you have MHL. At the end of 2012, more than 220 million MHL-enabled products shipped globally. Sunnyvale, California-based MHL is a consortium promoted by Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony and Toshiba. We started this journey two and a half years ago when a group of companies came together with a vision of creating a technology that would allow consumers to display HD content from a smartphone or tablet to a TV or display, says Judy Chen, president of MHL. The MHL consortium has created a specification for a new audio/video interface that is optimised for connecting mobile phones and portable devices to other consumer electronics

devices. She tells BV Mahalakshmi that the Indian mobile market is inspiring for MHL and the consortia is in the process

of partnering with local game publishers, content providers and mobile device makers. Excerpts:

How important is the Indian communications market for MHL

MHL is keen to expand the partnership programme with Indian consumer electronics companies. In 2012, we saw a significant adoption of MHL-featured phones and smartphones, and we expect that 2013 will be the year of MHL-enabled televisions. MHL is also looking to forge partnerships with Indian content developers, game publishers and mobile device manufacturers in India. The MHL specification was developed by Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony and Toshiba as a standard for mobile wired video or audio connectivity, which will enable the development of standard-compliant mobile and display products across a broad connectivity ecosystem.

We feel that the Indian market is inspiring for MHL as it has a mobile device penetration of 73%. Games continue to be the top selling smartphone applications, whereas in set-top-box streaming mobile video with MHLs unique remote control protocol. One area that is beginning to embrace the technology is the automotive sector, with manufacturers such as Hyundai, JVC-Kenwood and Pioneer viewing MHL as a compelling solution to integrate the phone into the car infotainment experience.

There will be challenges in terms of awareness about MHL technology...

MHL is excited about the use-cases for this technology. Some of our most popular use-cases include gaming where you pair a wireless controller to your mobile phone to play all of your favourite games on the big screen; as a PC replacement, where you connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to your mobile phone to transform any room into an office, and as a set-top box to watch all of your favourite movies and TV programmes from any location on the big screen.

MHL provides product specifications for its members in devices ranging from smartphones, tablets, TVs, monitors projectors AV receivers, Blu-ray players, media receivers, automotive receivers, adapters and cables. MHL has a growing installed base of more than 300 unique products, a cumulative installed base of more than 220 million units and more than 200 members globally. Some of the recent MHL mobile devices announced are from Acer, Fujitsu, Sharp, Sony, HTC, Lenovo, LG Mobile, TCL, ZTE and others. The major digital TV and monitor brands that have embraced MHL are Samsung, LG, Hitachi, Apex, Sony, Sharp, Lenovo, Insignia, Philips, NEC and other leading consumer electronic brands.

Globally, what is the user base and the target set by MHL for the next few years

To date, there are over 300 unique MHL-enabled products in the market and an installed base of over 220 million products. Some of the latest phones to ship with MHL include the Sony Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia SP, the HTC Butterfly, the HTC One, and of course the Samsung Galaxy S4.

In terms of adoption, who are the latest entrants to adopt this technology

The first MHL-enabled product was launched in April of 2011, and now the first phones with MHL 2.0 are being released such as the Samsung Galaxy S4. At this years Consumer Electronics Show (CES), there was also momentum in the automotive space, with Hyundai showing concept cars with MHL technology and Pioneer and JVC-Kenwood showing their latest products. MHL has achieved more than 100% year-on-year growth. In 2012, we also saw the release of new products that leverage our technology in creative ways beyond mobile devices and displays.

What will be your strategy going forward for the Indian rural market

MHL is particularly relevant for rural areas and emerging markets. MHL technology can turn a smartphone into a set-top-box, a gaming console, and a PC replacement. Even if a household doesnt have the latest MHL-enabled television, MHL will work with any existing HDMI television with the use of an inexpensive adapter.