New USB Type-C Connector Alternate Mode for Mobile 4K Video

MHL’s Alt Mode for the new USB Type-C connectors and cables has been announced, to support the MHL 3 specification. This means it will now be easier to stream 4K video, using mobile devices, to ultra high-definition TVs.

Current mobile device USB ports will be replaced by new connectors based on the USB 3.1.

Expect to see the new connectors in early adopter mobile devices by the end of next year, and widespread adoption beginning in 2016. USB 3.1 will also allow faster charging in addition to faster data transfer speeds for 4K video.

“The USB Type-C cable and connector is designed to be a long-lasting, robust solution that is ideal for all platforms and devices,” according to Jeff Ravencraft, of USB-IF. “The USB-IF will be working in conjunction with MHL, LLC to establish complementary certification and compliance programs to properly support USB Type-C hosts and devices that incorporate MHL Alt Mode. The USB-IF is also in the process of developing joint port identification guidelines. We’re coordinating with MHL, LLC to ensure consumers can recognize when MHL Alt Mode is supported on USB Type-C devices.”

Type C Cables

USB Type CUSB 3.1 feature the improved Type C cable, which has the same connector on both ends, so you will be able to flip the cable around and not worry about the plug direction.

The MHL Specification was developed jointly by a consortium consisting of Nokia Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Silicon Image, Inc., Sony Corporation, and Toshiba Corporation as a standard for mobile wired video/audio connectivity.

MHL 3 includes 4K video, multi-channel surround sound audio, HDCP 2.2 and is backward compatible with existing versions of the MHL spec.

Many Samsung and Sony smartphone and tablets already have MHL, and it is currently available in 650 million devices. It should be in most new HDTVs by next year.

4K resolution, also called 4K2K, is a display having horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels. 4K has become the common name for ultra high definition television (UHDTV), although its resolution is only 3840 x 2160, at a 16:9, or 1.78:1 aspect ratio. That is actually lower than the 4K industry standard of 4096 x 2160, at a 19:10 or 1.9:1 aspect ratio.

Top Photo by Karthikeyan KC