When it comes to getting content from our phones onto our TVs, we have plenty of options. Maybe your phone has a physical HDMI output (though those seem to be getting increasingly rare). Maybe you do things wirelessly, using Miracast or an accessory like Chromecast. A lot of smartphone users connect to their televisions using MHL though their phones’ micro USB port, which not only carries the video signal, but helps power your phone while it’s acting as a video source. As it turns out, among all the product launches we got to see last week at MWC 2014, the first couple devices supporting the new MHL 3.0 standard debuted: Sony’s Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet.
What’s so great about MHL 3.0? In a word: 4K. While previous MHL specs could handle 1080p video without stressing, MHL 3.0 ups the ante to display video with a resolution as high as 3840 x 2160. Maybe that’s a bit overboard for most of our current uses, but make no mistake – 4K is on its way, and it’s just a matter of time before you start seeing 4K screens replace 1080p panels in living rooms everywhere. In that sense, maybe MHL 3.0 is more future-proofing than anything else, but it has a couple other tricks up its sleeve besides just 4K support.
While you could power your phone over MHL before, MHL 3.0 dials-up the juice to support charging with as much as 10 watts of power. There’s also support for new multi-channel audio formats, the ability to work with multiple displays, and improved accessory compatibility.
The Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet may be MHL 3.0 early adopters, but look for more new hardware to support the standard in the months to come.