infoTECH Feature

July 02, 2010

MHL Consortium Releases High-Definition Link Specs for Mobile Devices

To further simplify mobile connectivity to home entertainment devices, MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) Consortium (, comprising Samsung (News - Alert) Electronics, Silicon Image, Sony Corp., and Toshiba Corp, has released audio/video interface specifications for connecting mobile and other portable consumer electronics (CE) devices to high-definition TVs (HDTVs), Blu-Ray players and displays. The MHL Consortium was formed in April. Concurrently, the consortium has also released adopter's agreement for licensing version 1.0 specifications, which is being administered by MHL, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Silicon Image (News - Alert) (

One of the key advantages of the MHL version 1.0 specification is that it enables manufacturers to utilize widely established connectors available in today's mobile and CE products, according to the members of the consortium. Interestingly, Silicon Image is also a member of the group that created high-definition media interface (HDMI). However, according to MHL spokesman, it is not based HDMI standard.

'The increasing availability of storage and media capabilities on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile electronics is contributing to the consumption of video on the go,' said Michael Palma, a senior research analyst at International Data Corp.( 'The MHL specification should enhance the ability to link these portable devices to HDTVs opening up opportunities for manufacturers and service providers to deliver new applications and add more value for consumers.'

'Our 1.0 specification release marks another MHL milestone and brings us one step closer in achieving our goal of becoming the standard of choice for wired mobile connectivity,' said Barry McAuliffe, president of MHL, LLC. 'Utilizing existing connectors saves valuable space in devices by keeping form factors small, allows for cost-effective implementation, and enables consumers to get more functionality and features from a single connector.'

According to the consortium's release, version 1.0 specs support 1080p/60 picture quality transmission from portable devices to TVs and displays. While the audio part handles up to 192 kHz pf audio transfer, delivering up to 7.1 channel linear pulse code modulation (PCM) surround sound and compressed audio. Additionally, 5 V and 500 milliamperes are provided by plugged-in TVs, PCs and displays to power portable devices and chrge its batteries.
Key benefits highlighted by the MHL include simple 5-pin interface, remote command and control and high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP). According to the release, mobile devices can output high quality video and digital audio over a single cable while receiving power from TVs and displays.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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