1. What is the goal of the MHL Consortium?
The Promoters of this Consortium are committed to the goal to enhance the multimedia capabilities of mobile phones and portable devices by enabling them to fully integrate with HDTV’s and other CE products, while delivering high-definition (HD) content with an easy-to-implement digital connectivity solution. The MHL Consortium has created a specification for a new audio/video interface that is optimized for connecting mobile phones and portable devices to other consumer electronics (CE) devices.
The MHL Consortium is responsible for developing, licensing and promoting MHL as an industry standard open to anyone desiring to become an adopter, and to enable the development of specification-compliant mobile and display products across a broad connectivity ecosystem.
2. Who are the Promoters of the MHL Consortium?
The current Promoters of the Consortium are: Nokia Corporation; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Silicon Image, Inc.; Sony Corporation; and Toshiba Corporation.
3. What is the basis for the new specification?
The MHL specification is an HD video and digital audio interface optimized for connecting mobile phones and portable devices to HDTV’s, displays and other home entertainment products. It features a single cable with a 5-pin interface able to support up to 1080p HD video and digital audio while simultaneously providing power to the mobile device, and utilizing established connectors.
4. What are the main features of this and how is it optimized for mobile phone and portable devices?
Products implementing the MHL specification will feature:
- HD Video and Digital Audio
Consumers will be able to experience HD video content with up to 1080p/60 picture quality, and digital audio up to 192 kHz and capable of delivering 7.1 channel surround sound from their mobile device.
- Utilization of Existing Connectors
The MHL specification gives manufacturers the flexibility to utilize widely established connectors available in today’s mobile and CE products.
- Low Pin-Count Interface
HD video and digital audio are enabled with only a 5-pin interface while at the same time providing control and power, which along with utilizing existing connectors allow mobile devices to maintain their small form factor and keep implementation costs low.
- Provision of Power to the Mobile Device
The MHL specification enables operation of the mobile device in MHL mode while 5 volts and 500 mA of power are simultaneously provided from an HDTV or other CE device. For example, a mobile phone can play back a full-length movie on an HDTV without draining power, so the mobile phone can continue to be used for other purposes, such as calls and emails.
- Content Protection
The MHL specification fully supports High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) technologies for the safeguarding of high-value digital motion pictures, television programs and audio against unauthorized interception and copying.
5. Why is an additional connectivity solution needed, and don't connectors already offer these capabilities?
The MHL specification is optimized specifically for mobile phones and portable devices by providing power charging to the mobile device while in use and also enabling the DTV remote to control the mobile device.
6. What does it mean that manufacturers can utilize existing connectors, and what is the impact?
The MHL specification defines a 5-pin interface that can be mapped to connectors currently in use. Utilizing existing connectors saves valuable space in devices keeping form factors small, allows for cost-effective implementation, and enables consumers to get more functionality and features from a single connector.
7. How will compliance to the specification be accomplished?
MHL Adopters will have to meet compliance requirements of the MHL specification by submitting their products for testing and certification to MHL Authorized Test Centers.
8. Is the MHL Compliance Test Specification (CTS) available and are there any MHL Authorized Test Centers (ACT)?
The CTS is available to Adopters and the first ATC is in place. Additional ATCs will be available in the first quarter of 2011. ATCs are listed on the adopter page of the website.
9. Is the MHL specification available?
Yes. The 1.0 specification is now available for MHL Adopters. There is also an abridged draft specification available for evaluation purposes for a small fee on the MHL Consortium website at mhlconsortium.org.
10. What is the process for becoming an MHL Adopter and obtaining the MHL 1.0 specification?
Companies interested in becoming MHL Adopters need to register on the MHL website at mhlconsortium.org and request the Adopter Agreement. The Adopter Agreement must then be returned with the payments explained in the Adopter Agreement, and the MHL 1.0 specification will be made available.
11. Is there an Adopter fee or royalties?
Yes, there is an adopter fee and royalty structure that is explained in the Adopter Agreement.
12. How will consumers and various industry sectors benefit?
Consumers are increasingly using mobile phones and portable devices as sources for their information, communication and entertainment. Because this solution is optimized for mobile phones and portable devices, more of those products will be capable of utilizing HD-quality digital rich media and seamlessly integrating with home entertainment systems and the broad digital media ecosystem. This will allow consumers to easily access, share and enjoy more content in more ways.
Mobile manufacturers will be able to provide more robust capabilities and features in their devices, providing a compelling value-added opportunity for the next generation of fully HD-enabled mobile phones and portable devices.
Consumer electronics manufacturers will have the ability to connect their products with mobile phones and portable devices in new ways, enabling their products to integrate with the mobile marketplace and mobile consumer.
Mobile service operators will be able to offer enhanced and premium services enabling higher quality music, movies, gaming and video for their customers to enjoy.
Content and application providers of movies, TV and video shows, music, and gaming will be able to offer higher quality and more robust multimedia content that will be more widely utilized and in demand, and application providers will be able to offer new applications needed to utilize this content.
13. What devices will be best for utilizing this new specification?
The MHL specification is optimized for mobile devices and therefore initial targets are the mobile phone and portable device markets. The full range of CE and mobile products can also benefit from the MHL specification such as HDTVs and displays, portable media players, digicams and digital still cameras, laptops, car entertainment systems, audio systems, and other home, car and office products.
14. How will devices enabled with the MHL specification work with legacy display products with digital interfaces?
The large installed base of legacy HDTVs and displays will be able to connect with MHL-enabled phones, portable devices and CE products through various active cables, dongles or docks.
15. How will products enabled with this new specification interoperate with the command and control of other CE devices?
Products will have the capability to integrate with certain CE products’ command and control functions; for example allowing a mobile device to manage the playback of its content on HDTV’s, or allowing the HDTV remote to control the mobile device.
16. How will this all be supported in the marketplace?
The MHL Consortium is developing comprehensive support programs to enable adopters to successfully design, develop, and deploy new products. These programs include specification development and certification authority.