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MHL, the standard for sending high-definition video from portable devices, has today announced its version 3.0 specification. The highlights in MHL 3.0 include 4K video support (up to 2160p30) and the ability to use input devices and other peripherals — mice, keyboards, touchscreens, etc. — thanks to a higher-speed two-way link.

Also listed in the new spec are charging at 10W, 7.1 Dolby surround sound, HDCP 2.2 content protection and backwards compatibility with the MHL 1 and 2 standards. The standard will be "connector agnostic," according to the MHL group, with the ability to operate over as few as five pins.

The full MHL 3.0 specification will be available to download in early September. There's no indication as to when we might see the first smartphones and tablets with support for the new MHL standard, but as the spec has just been finalized, it's unlikely we'll see anything in the immediate future.


MHL 3.0 Innovations Include 4K (Ultra HD) Resolution, Enhanced Audio, Simultaneous High-Speed Data, Touch Screen Support, and the Latest Content Protection

SUNNYVALE, Calif., — Aug. 20, 2013 — MHL, LLC today announced the MHL 3.0 specification to address the latest consumer requirements for connecting a mobile device to displays, marking major advancements in the areas of audio and video transmission over an MHL® link. With double the bandwidth compared to the previous specification, MHL 3.0 delivers 4K (Ultra HD) resolution and a wider color gamut to create a more brilliant visual experience, solidifying MHL’s growing presence in the living room. By using a bi-directional channel that’s significantly faster than MHL 2, the new specification enables concurrent 4K video and high-speed peripheral support of mass storage and input devices such as a touch screen, keyboard and mouse.

“As broadcasters and content service providers strive to innovate and drive revenues, many of the global players including Comcast, NHK, the BBC, Orange and Netflix are trialing and/or  announcing plans to deliver UHDTV content,” said Sarah Carroll, director of global business development, Futuresource Consulting. “As TV everywhere initiatives are also a priority for the world’s broadcasters and online service providers, MHL’s technology solution with HDCP 2.2 will enable the secure delivery of 4K, premium content between different devices staying ahead of the consumer demand curve.”

“The new innovations in MHL 3.0 pave the way for the technology’s expansion into a broader set of home, office, and automotive applications,” said Judy Chen, president, MHL, LLC.  “With an installed base of more than 330 million devices, MHL, as the world’s most widely adopted mobile TV-out standard, will continue to evolve to meet consumer needs.”

The MHL 3.0 specification capabilities include:
4K (Ultra HD): Support of 4K formats up to 2160p30
Simultaneous high-speed data channel
Improved Remote Control Protocol (RCP) with support for peripherals such as a touch screen, keyboard and mouse
Power charging up to 10W
Backward compatible with MHL 1 and MHL 2
Latest HDCP 2.2 content protection
Enhanced 7.1 surround sound with Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD
Connector agnostic – uses as few as five pins 
Support for simultaneous multiple displays
The MHL Experience
Home Theater – 4K Movie-Theater Picture Quality
Watch all of your favorite content in 4K movie-theater picture quality from your smartphone to your TV or home theater system. Stop, rewind, pause and play all of your content using the TV’s remote control.

Mobile Games – Zero Lag
Play all your mobile games on a 4K screen with no lag, all while the TV provides power to your smartphone for extended game play.

Office – Work Anytime, Anywhere
Transform your mobile device into a portable computer by connecting it to a keyboard, mouse, monitor (or multiple monitors), and storage device to work anytime, anywhere.

Automotive – Touch Screen to Access Music and Navigation
Interact with the smartphone through your car infotainment touch-screen display or buttons on your steering wheel to make phone calls, play music, navigate with the phone’s GPS, and more, all while providing charge to your smartphone.

The MHL 3.0 specification will be available for download at in early September 2013.

Today, there is an installed base of more than 330 million MHL-enabled products from more than 200 adopters. MHL will continue to evolve beyond the de facto mobile-to-TV interface and become a relevant connectivity standard for Audio/Video receivers, Blu-ray Disc™ players, game consoles, and set-top boxes to TV. Additional news will be available in the Fall of 2013 to provide more information on how MHL is expanding into this market.


Reader comments

MHL 3.0 spec unveiled with 4K support


The pixel war continues in TV form! My 50" plasma, which is 12 feet away looks the same, whether 720p or 1080p. 8 feet is suggested for 1080p. So...At 4K I need to be within 2 feet, or need a 100" TV to take advantage of 4K @ 8'. Only plus I see with all this 4K bidness is I get a cheaper /rational/ TV!

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I would have been inclined to agree with you, until not too long ago. My brother got one of those new fancy led tvs, whereas I have 2 from 5 years ago - when you play back the same file, the difference is remarkable - what looks normal on my tv, is horrible and pixelated on his, because of the higher resolution of his unit...

Posted via Android Central App

There are good reasons to have the option of plugging things in. There is less software, RAM, and CPU overhead involved with a physical cable connection. For example, good luck getting any games to work on a ChromeCast. Also, you can go over to a friends house and take a MicroHDMI cord without any need to worry about power or possible wifi connectivity issues.

Samsung all share cast hub works alot better than the chromecast. Im not sure why this product doesn't much advertising. It works great on my S4. It also mirrors everything on my phone unlike the chromecast.

Because it only works with Samsung Android devices and cost over $60, it can not be compared to Chromecast which works on IOS/Android/Windows/OSX and cost only $35.

All this support for 4k, Snapdragon 800, MHL 3.0,. . .but 4K tvs cost $20,000!!!!!!!

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Still think they should standardize the connector to avoid accessory incompatibilities from a manufacturer changing the pinout but retaining the connector form (Yeah, I'm looking at you Samsung ¬¬')

I won't comment on the issue of standardizing the connector since I haven't studied it enough to know how feasible that is. But if I read this correctly with regard to the concurrent support for video out and peripheral connection, over 5 pins, this sure does make Samsung's departure from the 5-pin connector everyone else was using look all the more foolish. Also, I don't know enough about the technology to know for sure, but I find it difficult to believe that Samsung couldn't have engineered their port so that a "standard" MHL adapter with 5-pin micro-USB would work for video out just like it does on every other device that supports MHL via micro-USB, AND enable their expanded functionality when their proprietary 11-pin cable is connected.

The only thing future proof in electronics is the electricity it self.

Posted via Android Central App

As much as I think connectivity using a cable is a great idea I'm not a fan of MHL at all. I wish companies would all just use MicroHDMI. It works great and it's standard. MHL is so bad that Samsung made their own version for the GS3 and newer devices. Too bad that means it's no longer standard. I'm sure MHL 3.0 is great but I'd rather have a MicroHDMI port on everything. It's great now, I can use the same cable with my phone, tablet, camera, and FlipHD. I doubt this will be the case for long. Also, with my MicroUSB port open I can connect my wireless mouse which makes it nice to use on the TV. Of course it makes charging while connected via HDMI simple as well.

"as the spec has just been finalized, it's unlikely we'll see anything in the immediate future."
Well, it may not be true, see 802.11n and 802.11ac. Both have actual products even when the specs are not final.

Seems like this drive for "standardization" just leads to more competing formats. Miracast is open source wireless and natively supported by Android 4.2±. We need less propriety formats and more support for open source standards.

Not having a standard connector and not having self powered adapters is gonna hurt MHL, probably part of the reason you have competing standards like Slimport on the Nexus 4/7 (it has self powered adapters, though they're even pricier). At least there's that one cable from Monoprice which breaks out two leads from the HDMI connector (one full sized USB for power and one micro for the phone), that greatly simplifies the cable clutter (particularly on TVs with USB ports).