There are plenty of ways to connect your phone or tablet to your television, but right now, none of those options output at a resolution higher than 1080p. That isn’t a huge problem at the moment, but as more 4K televisions show up on store shelves, the demand for sharing 4K content will grow accordingly. The Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) consortium has decided to get a jumpstart on tackling this problem, adding 4K support to MHL 3.0.
The MHL standard allows you to connect the devices that support it to your television using an adapter that connects to your mobile device’s micro-USB port. MHL 2.0 allows you to share 1080p, but the update to 3.0 will increase your ability to output 3840 x 2160 resolution (or 2160p) at 30 frames per second. It also allows for 7.1 surround sound and support for multiple simultaneous displays.
MHL 3.0 can transmit data and video at the same time, and allow your connected device to draw up to 10 watts of power in order to charge while doing so. The reason your device can charge is because MHL requires you to use a cable – this isn’t a wireless streaming solution like AirPlay or Miracast. Then again, neither of those standards currently support 4K.
The MHL standard is used by companies including Asus, HTC, Samsung, and Sony. Roku even uses an MHL thumb drive for its Streaming Stick. MHL 3.0 is backward compatible with MHL 1 and MHL 2. It will be available to download from the MHL consortium in September.