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Silicon Image Delivers 8K SuperMHL Compatible Chip

Silicon Image announced its new chip, the Sil9779, which it says is the first to be compliant with the SuperMHL standard.

Since 2008, Silicon Image has worked to develop MHL, a video output alternative to HDMI that's designed for mobile devices. In addition to being able to work with various types of connectors that could be smaller than HDMI, such as micro-USB, it also allowed for the mobile devices to charge while connected to an external display.

The MHL Consortium, which was formed to develop the MHL standard, announced an update to the standard in January known as SuperMHL, which increased the resolution to 8K, improved audio features, quadrupled the power for charging devices to 40W, and brought numerous other improvements.

Like previous variations of MHL, several different types of connectors can be implemented by mobile device manufacturers in conjunction with SuperMHL, but the most hotly-anticipated one is the USB Type-C connector.

"Silicon Image continues to help define and create new interfaces for tomorrow's home theater products," said senior director of marketing at Silicon Image, Cheng Hwee Chee. "8K is the highest display resolution on the market today, delivering 16x more pixels than 1080p. Our solution enables manufacturers to build products that meet customer demand and anticipate future needs."

Although MHL was developed as a mobile-optimized HDMI alternative, it is interesting to see now that with SuperMHL, MHL offers higher resolutions and better features than HDMI. Not that it matters a great deal just yet; the price of 4K displays is still high, and very few 8K displays have been created, so although SuperMHL has an advantage with higher resolutions, it cannot currently leverage this advantage against HDMI.

With this new chip from Silicon Image, manufacturers can begin adding SuperMHL support into products, but there was no indication of when devices using these chips will start to arrive on the market.

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