MHL: What It Is and How to Use It

What to Know

  • An MHL port lets you connect a portable device to a TV or other device using an MHL-enabled HDMI input or an adapter.
  • MHL transmits HD video and audio from a connected device while charging that device at the same time.

This article explains what MHL ( Mobile High-Definition Link ) is and how it is it used

What Is MHL ?

HDMI is the default wired sound recording and video connection protocol for home theaters. however, there ‘s another direction to extend its capabilities : MHL

An MHL port lets you connect a smartphone, tablet, or another portable device to an HDTV, sound recording receiver, or video recording projector using either a special MHL-enabled HDMI input signal or an arranger .

HDMI combines high-resolution digital video ( which includes 4K, 3D, and 8K depending on the version ) and audio ( up to eight channels ) into a single connection, reducing the total of cable television clutter. It can send master signals between connected devices. This is referred to by several names depending on the manufacturer. hush, its generic name is HDMI-CEC .

Another HDMI feature is ARC ( audio return channel ). This lets a unmarried HDMI cable transfer audio signals in both directions between a compatible television receiver and family field recipient or soundbar .

MHL uses the like physical end-connector HDMI uses, but it ‘s not HDMI. It transmits HD video and sound recording from a connected device while charging that device at the same prison term. Certain smartphones and tablets support MHL, as do choice television receiver sets .

MHL HDMI Input Example

MHL 1.0

MHL five 1.0, introduced in June 2010, supports the transfer of up to 1080p high-definition video recording and 7.1 channel PCM environment sound recording from the compatible portable device to a television receiver or home theater telephone receiver, using a mini-HDMI connection on the portable device and a life-size HDMI connection on the home field device that ‘s MHL-enabled .

The MHL-enabled HDMI port besides supplies power to your portable device ( 5 volts/500ma ), so you do n’t use up battery baron to watch a movie or listen to music .

When not using the MHL/HDMI larboard for connecting portable devices, you can use it as a regular HDMI connection for your other home plate theater components, such as a Blu-ray Disc player .
Connecting MHL Smartphone to TV with MHL/HDMI Input
MHL consortium
If you have an MHL-enabled smartphone or early device and your television receiver does n’t have an MHL-HDMI input signal, you can use a compatible arranger or pier to connect the two .

Connecting MHL Smartphone to TV with Standard HDMI Input Using Dock
MHL consortium

MHL 2.0

Introduced in April 2012 , it allows device charging from 4.5 watts at 900ma to 7.5 watts at 1.5 amps. It besides adds 3D compatibility .

MHL 3.0

Released in August 2013, MHL 3.0 adds the trace features :

  • 4K (Ultra HD/UHD) signal input supporting up to 30 fps (2160p/30).
  • 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD surround sound support.
  • Simultaneous High-Speed Data Channel accessibility.
  • Improved Remote Control Protocol (RCP) with support for external devices such as touchscreens, keyboards, and mice.
  • Power and charging up to 10 watts.
  • Compatibility with HDCP 2.2.
  • Multiple simultaneous display support (up to 4K monitors or TVs).
  • Backward compatibility with previous MHL 1.0 and 2.0 versions (including physical connections). However, devices with MHL versions 1.0 or 2.0 may not be able to access version 3.0 capabilities.


Introduced in January 2015, superMHL supports 8K Ultra HD 120 Hz High Dynamic Range ( HDR ) video recording. It besides supports object-based audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS : x. The Remote Control Protocol ( RCP ) was extended thus that multiple MHL-compatible devices can be linked and controlled with a unmarried outside .

SuperMHL Connection (top) - USB 3.1 Type-C (bottom)
The MHL Consortium and Lattice Semiconductor
here is what Super MHL connectivity provides :

  • 8K 120 fps video pass-through capability.
  • Expanded 48-bit Deep Color and BT.2020 color gamut support.
  • Support for High-Dynamic Range (HDR).
  • Support for advanced surround sound audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D audio, as well as audio-only mode support.
  • Single remote control for multiple MHL devices (TV, AVR, Blu-ray player, or STB).
  • Power charging up to 40W.
  • Multiple display capability from a single source.
  • Backward compatibility with MHL 1, 2, and 3.
  • Support for the MHL Alt Mode for the USB Type-C specifications.

Integrating MHL With USB

The MHL Consortium ‘s translation 3 connection protocol is besides designed to integrate with the USB 3.1 framework using a USB Type-C connection. This is referred to as MHL Alt ( Alternate ) Mode .

This means the USB 3.1 Type-C connection is compatible with both USB and MHL functions. MHL Alt Mode allows transfer up to 4K Ultra HD video resolution and multi-channel wall audio ( including PCM, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio ). It besides provides coincident MHL audio and video, USB datum, and power for connected portable devices when using a USB Type-C connection to compatible TVs, home theater receivers, and PCs equipped with a USB Type-C or life-size HDMI ( via adapter ) ports. MHL-enabled USB ports can use both USB or MHL functions .

One extra MHL Alt Mode feature is the Remote Control Protocol ( RCP ). RCP enables MHL sources plugged into compatible TVs to operate using the television ‘s distant control .

Products using the MHL Alt Mode include selected smartphones, tablets, and laptops equipped with USB 3.1 Type-C connectors .

MHL Alt Mode for USB Type-C
HDMI consortium
To make adoption more compromising, cables are available with USB 3.1 Type-C connectors on one goal and HDMI, DVI, or VGA connectors on the other end. Docking products for compatible portable devices that include MHL Alt Mode compatible USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI, DVI, or VGA connectors can besides be used .

The decision to implement MHL Alt Mode on a specific product is determined by the intersection manufacturer. Just because a device might be equipped with a USB 3.1 Type-C connection does n’t mean that it ‘s mechanically MHL Alt Mode-enabled .

If you desire that capability, search for the MHL appellation next to the USB connection on either the reference or finish device. If you use the USB Type-C to HDMI connection option, make indisputable the HDMI connection on the finish device is labeled MHL compatible .

MHL Feature Set MHL 1 MHL 2 MHL 3  superMHL
Maximum Resolution 1080p 1080p 4K/30 8K/120
HDR and BT2020 Color Gamut       X
Up to 8 (7.1) Audio Channels X X X X
Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio     X X
Dolby Atmos/DTS:X       X
MHL Control (RCP) X X X X
Power Charging 2.5 watts 7.5 watts 10 watts 40 watts
Copy Protection (HDCP) ver 1.4 ver 1.4 ver 2.2 ver 2.2
Multi-Display Support     Up to four monitors or TVs Up to eight monitors or TVs
Connectors Adaptable Adaptable Adaptable Super MHL proprietary, USB Type-C, Micro USB, HDMI Type A

To dig deep into the technical foul aspects of MHL engineering, check out the official MHL Consortium web site .
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