MHL Consortium Launches SuperMHL

Last week during CES 2015, the MHL Consortium introduced the next generation of its Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) technology: SuperMHL. As we've described in the past, MHL allows a compatible smartphone or tablet to receive a recharge while it's mirroring HD video and audio on a compatible HDTV or display using just one cable. MHL supports 4K video and 7.1 surround audio.

However, SuperMHL is a huge step up from the original MHL specification, delivering up to a meaty 8K video resolution and frame rates of up to 120 fps. The new specifications also list 48-bit color depths, a wider color gamut and support for High-Dynamic Range (HDR). Additional features include 40-watt power charging and the ability to view content on multiple screens using just one device.

What's really interesting here is that SuperMHL allows multiple MHL devices to link together, such as Blu-ray players, HDTVs and so on. Even more, users can control this network of devices using a single remote. SuperMHL is backwards compatible, supporting over 750 million devices that sport MHL 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 technology.

In addition to the new specification, the MHL consortium also introduced at CES 2015 a new reversible SuperMHL 32-pin connector. With this new six-lane cable, consumers shouldn't need to worry about the direction of the cable or the orientation of the connector. However, both the device and the display will need this port to take advantage of the cable orientation/direction. Otherwise, SuperMHL will also provide cables for micro-USB, HDMI Type A and USB Type-C.

By comparison, MHL 3 doesn't support HDR, nor does the older spec support Dolby Atmos, DTS UHD, 3D Audio or the audio only mode. MHL 3 also only provides 10 watts of power charging and supports up to four displays (SuperMHL supports up to eight displays). Both SuperMHL and MHL 3.0 support HDCP 2.2.

"MHL enables consumers to share what they love – photos, videos, music and ideas – with the world around them. Our goal is to make content more meaningful and accessible," said Rob Tobias, president, MHL, LLC. "With the release of SuperMHL, consumers can experience content beyond resolution, focus on the picture instead of the pixels, and live in a world where TVs are truly windows into the future."

The consortium reported that the new SuperMHL specifications will be released later this month on the mhltech.org website. As for devices that will support SuperMHL, Samsung was seen at CES 2015 showcasing an 8K HDTV that offered built-in SuperMHL connectivity.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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