HTC will be one of the first mobile device manufacturers to embrace a new standard that makes it possible to connect mobile phones straight to a TV’s HDMI port without adding any extra ports to the phone itself, according to a report from heise.de. The technology, dubbed MHL, uses a phone’s Micro USB port and a special converter chip to transmit HD video to the TV set. It could put further pressure on handheld HD cameras like Cisco’s Flip, which tend to offer Micro HDMI ports for easy playback of HD footage on the TV screen.
MHL, which stands for “Mobile High-Definition Link,” has been developed by Silicon Image, one of the companies also involved in the development of the HDMI standard. MHL was first demonstrated at CES three years ago, and eventually led to the foundation of a consortium, which finalized the technology’s specifications last summer. The MHL Consortium is finalizing the certification of first mobile phones and TV sets in the coming two weeks, according to heise.de, and first devices could reach the market as early as this summer. HTC is reportedly one of the companies that will be part of this first wave of MHL-compatible mobile devices.
The new technology supports playback of 1080p HD video and 7.1 audio. End users will simply use a USB-to-HDMI cable to connect their phone to the TV, and MHL chips in the phone as well as the TV set will do the rest to properly transmit the video signal. MHL can also be used the charge the phone, and the technology even offers a control channel that will make it possible to control the phone via your TV remote. Existing TVs that don’t offer an integrated MHL chip will be able to utilize video from MHL mobile phones through external adapters.
If successful, MHL could have a couple of interesting implications: Mobile phones are increasingly competing with the Flip and similar consumer HD camcorders. However, even phones with HD recording capabilities oftentimes don’t offer any easy way to actually share the HD footage. Apple is trying to solve this with Airplay, but what if you didn’t even need an Apple TV to watch HD video on your TV screen?
I’m also looking forward to the day that someone comes out with a Roku or a Boxee Box powered by your TV. One less device to plug into that power strip, and also, one less device that’s adding to your power bill while in standby mode. But the real kicker here seems to be that phones could become a kind of HD media center in your pocket. Imagine you’re in a hotel room. You plug your phone into the TV, and immediately have access to HD movies via Netflix, while your phone is charging up for your next work day. What’s not to like about that?
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