MHL 3.0 for smartphones strides into view with 4K video support

MHL 3.0 for smartphones strides into view with 4K video support
With great ports comes great power

Good news for those of you who love hooking your smartphone up to TVs or monitors to watch a movie or play a game on a big screen: MHL 3.0 has been announced complete with 4K (Ultra HD) resolution capabilities.

For those of you who are unsure what MHL is, in its most basic form it allows you to plug your smartphone or tablet into an HDMI port in your TV via the handset's microUSB port.

Nokia, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba make up the MHL Consortium that governs the standard and the latest update in the form of version 3.0 will be available from next month.

More sound, screens and peripherals

The 4K upgrade means the bandwidth for the service has been doubled over MHL 2.0, and alongside the visual update version 3.0 also offers 7.1 surround sound support for better a better audio experience.

For those of you who like dabbling with more than one screen at a time MHL 3.0 also supports multiple displays as well as input devices such as keyboards and mice.

Of course you're only going to fully benefit from this upgrade if you a) own an MHL enabled device (of which we're told there are over 330 million in the world) and b) own a 4K monitor or television, which are still very expensive at this point in time.

However, as the mobile phone or tablet increasingly becomes part of the connected home, the ability to stream 7.1 surround sound will be key for online video services, or content you've downloaded to your device. We can see a time when such enhancements can be charged extra for, enabling new content streams for media providers.

The price of 4K technology will also drop over the next few years, and it's good to see that at least our wired connections between mobile devices and large displays will be ready for the mass uptake - now on to 4K wireless streaming.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.