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The MHL 3.0 spec makes cables sexy again

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The MHL 3.0 spec makes cables sexy again

Back in my day, when WiFi and Bluetooth started creeping into devices, most folks didn’t trust the technology. Bluetooth was damn near impossible to get working at the turn of the century, and WiFi is still giving people headaches today, which is why ethernet is great for internet access, and USB is fantastic for file transfers. But what about video?

There’s a spec out there that doesn’t get a lot of attention called MHL. It stands for Mobile High-Definition Link. When it launched, it was toted as being nothing more than HDMI over USB. The latest version of the spec, version 3.0, was announced yesterday, and with it comes a boat load of new features that may make plugging your phone in cool again.

Starting with the feature I think is coolest, MHL now supports 10 watt charging. That’s 2 amps for 5 volt output. That means you’ll be able to charge tablets quickly and phones even quicker. Then there’s support for 3840 x 2160 pixel displays. That’s UHDTV, better known as 4K. You also get bi-directional high-speed data, though exact speeds weren’t mentioned, and a whole bunch of new DRM and codec support has been added, which is important for watching movies.

When will we start seeing MHL 3.0 devices? The spec itself will be published next month, so I want to say early 2014, but you never really know with these things.

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