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Meet MHL, The Next Generation In HD Connectivity

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 18 comments

MHL is working to create the ultimate "mobile-to-big-screen" experience

While checking out the new MOGA controllers for Android, I got a chance to speak with a representative from the MHL consortium. According to the MHL, there are more than 220 million MHL-enabled devices on the market – 200 are unique products – and the list is growing. These include AVRs, Blue-ray Disc players, laptop docks, PC monitors and projectors.

So what's the big deal about MHL? It's the next step up from HDMI, adding power to the audio and video lines. This a good thing, as performance is increased when playing video or games streamed from a connected mobile device because it is only focused on one input/output, a MHL-compliant miniUSB port. Thanks to MHL, aka Mobile High-definition Link, compatible smartphones and tablets can connect to a MHL-compliant HDTV and receive a charge while pumping video or gaming to the TV's screen.

"I’m pleased to see the continued momentum MHL has experienced over the past year, achieving more than 100 percent year-over-year growth. In 2012, we also saw the release of new products that leverage our technology in creative ways beyond mobile devices and displays," said Judy Chen, president of MHL, LLC.

The MHL Consortium was founded by Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony and Toshiba in 2010, and is pushing to make MHL the standard, to deliver a great "mobile-to-big-screen" experience. Current MHL-enabled devices can be purchased through carriers, retailers and directly from leading original equipment manufacturers, the rep said.

MHL smartphones and tablets are now available from Samsung, Sony, TCL, ZTE, Pantech, LG Mobile, HTC, Mezili, Acer, Sharp, Lenovo, oppo and MI. HDTV's with MHL certification are available from Samsung, LG, Insigna, Hitachi, Sharp, Toshiba, Sony and AOC. Monitor manufacturers include Samsung, LG, acer and Philips.

For consumers who don't have a MHL-certified HDTV, there's an adapter available on the market that plugs into a power outlet. Thus, a MHL-enabled smartphone or tablet would connect to the adapter, and the adapter would connect to the TV via HDMI. The phone or tablet is still charged because the adapter is plugged into a wall outlet.

MHL also has a remote control protocol that allows the TV remote to control the phone. But the MHL rep was focused on stressing the issue of performance, that there wouldn't be any glitches or stuttering typically seen when connecting a smartphone and tablet via HDMI. The group was showing a demo of NOVA 3 running on a smartphone connected to an HDTV via MFL, and I saw no video lag or engine chugging on-screen. That's definitely a good thing, and moves the industry one step closer into making the typical gaming console obsolete.

 

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  • 15 Hide
    meat81 , January 14, 2013 3:10 PM
    Why cant they just add power to HDMI? just make a new revision of it, HDMI 2.0.... keep the plug size the same....just not pleased with there being a new plug every year.... Think if when a laptop or TV comes out... there will be like 50 inputs on the sides for legacy and new.
  • 11 Hide
    vertigo_2000 , January 14, 2013 3:21 PM
    meat81Why cant they just add power to HDMI? just make a new revision of it, HDMI 2.0.... keep the plug size the same....just not pleased with there being a new plug every year.... Think if when a laptop or TV comes out... there will be like 50 inputs on the sides for legacy and new.

    +1 Totally agree.
Other Comments
  • -1 Hide
    rozz , January 14, 2013 2:46 PM
    Damn - i thought this was an article about a new Hard Drive connections - not TV's.. :( 
  • 8 Hide
    MKBL , January 14, 2013 2:50 PM
    Quote:
    That's definitely a good thing, and moves the industry one step closer into making the typical gaming console obsolete.


    Could you please elaborate more? What makes you make such a bold statement? Sounds premature to me without solid/reasonable dropback. Definitely not journalistic.
  • 2 Hide
    Estix , January 14, 2013 3:02 PM
    MKBLCould you please elaborate more? What makes you make such a bold statement? Sounds premature to me without solid/reasonable dropback. Definitely not journalistic.


    Well, to be fair, current consoles are indeed rather obsolete :p 
  • 15 Hide
    meat81 , January 14, 2013 3:10 PM
    Why cant they just add power to HDMI? just make a new revision of it, HDMI 2.0.... keep the plug size the same....just not pleased with there being a new plug every year.... Think if when a laptop or TV comes out... there will be like 50 inputs on the sides for legacy and new.
  • 11 Hide
    vertigo_2000 , January 14, 2013 3:21 PM
    meat81Why cant they just add power to HDMI? just make a new revision of it, HDMI 2.0.... keep the plug size the same....just not pleased with there being a new plug every year.... Think if when a laptop or TV comes out... there will be like 50 inputs on the sides for legacy and new.

    +1 Totally agree.
  • 2 Hide
    blader15sk8 , January 14, 2013 3:25 PM
    Who wants to have to plug their phone in to the TV? It is all about doing it wireless now. Think Apple Airplay or Miracast... and if you need to charge your phone plug it in closer to where you are sitting.
  • -1 Hide
    joebob2000 , January 14, 2013 3:57 PM
    MKBLCould you please elaborate more? What makes you make such a bold statement? Sounds premature to me without solid/reasonable dropback. Definitely not journalistic.


    The fact that time/money spent on smartphones is eclipsing that spent on gaming consoles, and the use cases are almost identical (games, media, socialization). It is apparent that cutting edge graphics are not really a concern for the vast majority of gamers (some of whom, aside from gaming on their phones, still use their Wii, XB360 or PS3, all of which have vastly outdated graphics processing).

    So yes, one possible outcome of an easy to use and feature rich phone-to-tv interconnect is that gaming and media consumption can ALL be done with a smartphone. Low-lag bluetooth controllers are about all that stand in the way of it being a reality right now.
  • 2 Hide
    InvalidError , January 14, 2013 4:26 PM
    meat81Why cant they just add power to HDMI? just make a new revision of it, HDMI 2.0.... keep the plug size the same....just not pleased with there being a new plug every year...

    MHL does not introduce a new connector, it uses the standard micro-USB plug every phone/tablet already has but runs the D+/D- lines at much higher speeds than USB2 would to accommodate audio+video.
  • 0 Hide
    tarzan2001 , January 14, 2013 4:30 PM
    Quote:
    smartphone connected to an HDTV via MFL


    Perhaps the author was thinking "FML" while writing an article about another port being developed.
  • 0 Hide
    jathor , January 14, 2013 5:48 PM
    rj45 should just be the standard for everything, it can do all of that and power things and is so much better than all other types of connections and doesnt degrade nearly as much as hdmi and etc
  • 0 Hide
    ikaz , January 14, 2013 6:13 PM
    Well people forget (or maybe don't know) there is a fee that has to be paid for the use of HDMI, I haven't checked but this new MHL standard maybe royaly free like display port standard thats really why or atleast one reason why so many connections standards.
  • 0 Hide
    meat81 , January 14, 2013 7:06 PM
    InvalidErrorMHL does not introduce a new connector, it uses the standard micro-USB plug every phone/tablet already has but runs the D+/D- lines at much higher speeds than USB2 would to accommodate audio+video.


    Where does it say that? besides micro USB does not carry audio/video like described in the article above... if so then it sounds more like USB3 for TV's... If you have more on this i would like to see as this sounds like a whole new port/plug/input.
  • 0 Hide
    TunaSoda , January 14, 2013 8:41 PM
    Samsung MHL uses an 11-pin micro usb connector while all other brands use 5-pins
  • 0 Hide
    loneninja , January 14, 2013 9:18 PM
    meat81Where does it say that? besides micro USB does not carry audio/video like described in the article above... if so then it sounds more like USB3 for TV's... If you have more on this i would like to see as this sounds like a whole new port/plug/input.


    Micro USB can carry audio/video, at least on Samsung phones. They sell an MHL adapter that plugs into the micro usb and out puts to hdmi. There's a reason they don't have hdmi ports on their phones.
  • 0 Hide
    masterofevil22 , January 15, 2013 1:02 AM
    Apple will f$%# this up.... guaranteed
  • -1 Hide
    darknate , January 15, 2013 11:24 AM
    you people totally lack any knowledge on the subject considering you are on here thnking you know everthing. the mhl port is on the phone. it lookd and acts like micro usb and for all intents and purporse it is. with a mhl adapter plugged into your phone, you can then plug in a STANDARD hdmi cable into the adapter whih rns to your tv or w/e. presty chango you have video and audio running on the tv while your phone gets power. ts cheaper for phone makers to use hml instead of having to add in micro hdmi.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , January 15, 2013 1:08 PM
    meat81Where does it say that? besides micro USB does not carry audio/video like described in the article above... if so then it sounds more like USB3 for TV's...

    MHL uses the USB1/2 physical plug specification but runs MHL's own (non-USB) protocol on the data pins when it detects an MHL-compliant host/client device, USB otherwise.

    As for 'more about it', since you would likely only end up questioning whatever I write, you should simply Google it yourself.
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , January 15, 2013 3:52 PM
    Sounds a bit like thunderbolt...