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Many of you will have heard of the MHL connector, and a lot of your phones or tablets may already have MHL support onboard. If you’re not familiar with MHL, it’s essentially a connector that lives in your microUSB port that allows you to connect your smartphone or tablet to your HDTV over HDMI. It’s a pretty neat feature of many Android phones and for a lot of users it might be the main way they watch movies on their TV from their phones. With the rise of the Chromecast and company though, it’s no surprise that MHL hasn’t taken off entirely. Still, the MHL consortium isn’t giving in to these streaming sticks, and the new SuperMHL specification will offer some seriously compelling features for new devices and connectors.
SuperMHL will support 8K streaming at 120fps, which is a dizzying resolution of 7680 x 4320. Obviously, this is putting the cart way in front of the horse, but support for 8K should mean MHL can handle 4K (which the new Snapdragon 810 hitting phones later this year manages happily) without a problem. For movie fans, support for HDR content and superior contrast should be a welcome addition as well and you can chain MHL-supported devices to control a number of units with just one remote. Elsewhere, there’s support for charging devices that drink as much as 40W of power, another nice touch. The reversible Type-C USB connector will be fully supported within the SuperMHL spec as well.
It’s always fun to this sort of thing launch and while the specification will be available to download at the end of this month, it’s going to be some time before we see devices carrying the new standard. 4K UHDTV is just taking off, but it looks like all of the key parts are in place for mobile as well. We have SuperMHL, smartphone chips capable of outputting the content and more, now all we need are 4K tablets and smartphones.