The MHL™ Consortium is comprised of Nokia Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Silicon Image Inc., Sony Corporation, and Toshiba Corporation. The MHL specification is an HD video and digital audio interface for connecting mobile phones and portable devices to HDTVs and other home entertainment products. It utilizes established connectors and features a single cable with a 5-pin interface, supports 1080p HD video and digital audio and simultaneously provides power to the mobile device. It also enables the TV remote to control the mobile phone and access its contents.
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.
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.
Thanks for The MHL™ Consortium
An HD presentation format consisting of 1,080 vertical lines of display resolution in an interlaced scan. Most HD programming in the U.S. (terrestrial & satellite) is transmitted in the 1080i format.
An HD presentation format consisting of 1,080 vertical lines of display resolution in a progressive scan. While a growing number of HDTV monitors are capable of displaying 1080p content, 1080p sources are relatively limited.
An HD presentation format consisting of 1,440 vertical lines of display resolution in a progressive scan. Currently, this level of resolution is limited to PC applications (i.e. QXGA displays), but future generations of HDTVs may feature 1440p capability.
Versions 1.4 and 1.4a of the HDMI Specification add support for three-dimensional (3D) video formats, establishing a foundation for 3D broadcast, movie, and gaming applications. Both the source device and the display need to support 3D functionality. The 3D formats supported include frame packing, top and bottom, and side by side (full and half)
A non-HD presentation format consisting of 480 vertical lines of display resolution in an interlaced scan. Terrestrial and satellite TV providers !V analog and digital !V still transmit the majority of their programming in 480i format.
A non-HD presentation format consisting of 480 vertical lines of display resolution in a progressive scan. Progressive-scan DVD players typically output a 480p signal.
Advanced display technologies that will deliver roughly four times the screen resolution of a 1080p monitor.
4Kx2K See 4K.
An HD presentation format consisting of 720 vertical lines of display resolution in a progressive scan. A limited amount of HD programming in the U.S. (terrestrial & satellite) is transmitted in 720p format.
The digital audio format used for DTV broadcasts in the United States.
A Color Space used primarily in digital photography applications and supported in HDTVs with the 1.4 version of the HDMI specification
A Color Space used primarily in digital photography applications and supported in HDTVs with the 1.4 version of the HDMI specification.
Analog systems represent data as a series of variations in some measurable, physical quantity, such as voltage or waveform. (See also Digital)
ARC See Audio Return Channel.
The ratio of screen width to screen height. For television monitors it is either 4:3 (!¡±standard!¡L) or 16:9 (!¡±widescreen!¡L). NTSC analog TV systems use a 4:3 aspect ratio, while ATSC uses the wider 16:9 aspect ratio. Movie theaters use a number of different aspect ratios, some even wider than 16:9.
Authorized Testing Center. In order to verify compliance with the HDMI technical specification, components are tested in ATCs operated by HDMI Licensing, LLC. Products are tested according to a Compliance Test Specification (CTS). ATCs are located in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Advanced Television System Committee technical standard. The digital replacement for the legacy NTSC broadcast standard.
Audio Return Channel
Allows an HDMI-connected TV to send an audio signal !¡±upstream!¡L to an AV receiver or Home Theater in a Box when the TV is the source of the audio (such as an internal tuner of an internal DVD/Blu-ray player), eliminating the need for a separate S/PDIF cable. An optional HDMI feature that must be supported by both devices.
Automotive Connection System
Collectively, a group of HDMI cabling, relays and connectors designed for the automotive industry, engineered to withstand the rigors of the road while delivering HD quality.
The carrying capacity of a data interconnect. High-bandwidth connections are also called high-speed connections, because they can transmit large quantities of data very quickly. HDMI has extremely high bandwidth capacity: up to 10.2 gigabits per second.
Bit depth See Color Depth.
One of two potential successor technologies to the DVD, using multi-layer disc technology and a blue laser to deliver feature-length movies in HD resolution HDMI is the interconnect standard for Blu-ray Disc players. (See also HD-DVD).
A technology used in many HDMI receiver chips to boost the incoming signal, allowing the sink device (TV, projector, monitor, etc.) to compensate for weaker signals. Components employing cable equalization technology can be connected with longer cable runs than might otherwise be practical.
Category 5 and Category 6 cabling is used in Ethernet and Fast Ethernet networks, and has also been adapted to transmit an HDMI signal. Both cables feature four twisted-pair copper wires and an RJ-45 connector, with the main difference being that CAT-6 has tighter tolerances for line noise and crosstalk. CAT-5/CAT-6 has been successfully used to transmit HDMI over extremely long cable runs, i.e. 40-50 meters.
Category 1 HDMI Cable See Standard HDMI Cable
Category 2 HDMI Cable See High Speed HDMI Cable
CEC See Consumer Electronics Control.
A program used for encoding and decoding a digital signal, usually employing compression/decompression algorithms to streamline the data and conserve bandwidth.
A symptom of insufficient color depth, color banding occurs when a monitor is unable to render smooth color gradients, and instead presents stripes or bands of color, especially in very light or very dark areas of an image. This occurs because the human eye is extraordinarily sensitive to color gradations, and can detect the change from one shade to another when color depth is limited.
A measurement of the number of bits used to represent the color of a single pixel. Greater color depth gives a larger number of distinct colors, i.e. millions or billions of colors, allowing for smoother color gradients. (See also: Deep Color)
Color Gamut See Color Space.
Color Model See Color Space.
DTVs and other digital devices are not designed to display the entire available spectrum of colors discernible to the human eye, but rely instead on a subset of these colors known as a color space, color model, or color gamut. The traditional color space for TVs has been the RGB model, but newer sets are being designed to accommodate the broader x.v.Colormodel, which can display more of the visible spectrum. Digital cameras also frequently use a color model that is wider than RGB, such as Adobe YYCC601.
Color Striping See Color Banding.
Compliance Testing Specification (CTS)
Manufacturers who license HDMI technology are required to put their products through a formal testing process defined in the HDMI CTS. Compliance testing under the CTS includes both manufacturer self-testing and submission of products to an Authorized Testing Center, or ATC.
A Compliant Product is typically a consumer electronics or personal computing product manufactured by a licensed HDMI Adopter. Compliant Products incorporate the HDMI Specification and receive passing results when tested against the Compliance Test Specification (CTS). The use of the HDMI Logo on products or packaging is one of the indicators that you are buying a Compliant Product.
A legacy video connection for home theater equipment, using three separate cables to send a picture in three discrete color channels, e.g. red, green, and blue.
Technologies designed to increase the carrying capacity of a data connection by compacting the data stream at one end and re-expanding it at the other end. With the exception of lossless audio codecs, compression and decompression algorithms for audio and video are inherently !¡±lossy,!¡L meaning that data are lost in the process. One of the advantages of HDMI over other connection technologies is its enormous carrying capacity, which makes compression unnecessary.
Consumer Electronics Control (CEC)
One of the channels in an HDMI connection is dedicated to a set of advanced control functions, collectively known as CEC. When enabled by the manufacturer, CEC functionality allows connected devices to control each other in useful ways. For instance, a single command on a remote control can be used to play a DVD, or to launch other complex activities across multiple devices in a home theater system.
Advanced functionality that allows a TV to automatically optimize its settings to match the content type it is currently receiving, and to automatically switch viewing modes when a new content type is selected. This is an optional HDMI feature that must be supported by the TV.
CTS See Compliance Testing Specification.
The Display Data Channel, one of the channels in an HDMI connection. DDC allows devices to assess each others!| capabilities and adjust themselves accordingly. For example, a DVD player can discover the maximum resolution of the monitor it!|s connected to by reading the monitor!|s EDID ROM chip, and optimize its signal output to match that monitor!|s display capabilities.
The expanded bandwidth of HDMI 1.3 is allowing manufacturers to design displays with much greater Color Depth. These new !¡±Deep Color!¡L monitors will be capable of rendering many more distinct hues than current displays !V up to trillions of colors rather than thousands or millions. (See also: Color Depth; Color Banding)
Digital systems represent data in binary form, encoding it as a series of zeroes and ones. (See also: Analog)
Digital Audio Cable See S/PDIF.
The Digital Interface for Audio and Video, a proposed interface standard for digital audio and video for China. Not widely supported in the industry.
A digital display interface standard developed by VESA. It enjoys some support among computer manufacturers as a replacement for DVI and VGA video connectivity.
A family of multi-channel audio codecs from Dolby Laboratories, based on AC-3 technology, that includes Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Live, Dolby Digital Surround EX, and Dolby Digital Plus.
An advanced audio codec developed by Dolby Laboratories. Dolby TrueHD is a lossless audio format, meaning that no audio information is lost when the signal is compressed and uncompressed.
Direct-Stream Digital, the trademark name used by Sony and Philips for the audio encoding technology used in the Super Audio CD (SACD). Also known as One-bit audio.
A family of multi-channel audio codecs from Digital Theater Systems, Inc., including DTS, DTS-ES, DTS Neo:6, and DTS 96/24. DTS audio codecs are used in both commercial and home theater applications.
DTS-HD Master Audio
An advanced audio codec developed by Digital Theater Systems. DTS-HD Master Audio is a lossless audio format, meaning that no audio information is lost when the signal is compressed and uncompressed.
Digital televisions, the successor technology to analog TV, are televisions capable of receiveing a ditigal terrestrial or cable broadcast signal, like ATSC (North America) or DVB (Europe).
Digital Visual Interface, a predecessor technology to HDMI. There are different versions of DVI for PC and CE applications !V DVI-D is the version used in CE devices. DVI is based on the same technology as HDMI, so the two connections are completely compatible !V however a separate set of connections is required to transmit the audio signal, since DVI transmits video only.
A memory chip (ROM), included in most HD devices, containing essential information about that device. When connected via HDMI, EDID data is shared so that other components can read its make, model, and capabilities through theDSD channel. EDID stands for Extended Display Identification Data, and is defined by VESA, a video standards organization.
A widescreen television capable of displaying a 480p signal.
Extended Color Gamut See x.v.Color
Frame Rate See Refresh Rate.
High definition. Usually used to describe any device capable of generating or displaying a signal with a resolution of at least 720 vertical lines (i.e. 720p). Another accepted definition is any signal containing at least one million pixels of video data in a single frame (vertical resolution x horizontal resolution).
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. Developed by Intel, HDCP is an authentication system designed to protect copyrighted audiovisual content. Most HDMI-enabled and DVI-enabled devices also employ HDCP.
High-definition DVD, one of two potential successor technologies to the DVD. A high-density optical disc format designed for the storage of high-definition video. HDMI is the interconnect standard for HD-DVD players (see also: Blu-ray Disc)
High Definition Multimedia Interface. A 19-pin digital connection that transmits both high-definition uncompressed video and multi-channel audio through a single cable. HDMI is the preferred connection for HD devices.
The HDMI technical Specification has been updated since its inception, and HDMI 1.4 was released in 2009. While all versions of the spec are backward-compatible, devices built to the 1.4 standard may feature extended capabilities not found in earlier devices. For instance, newer TVs and disc players might take advantage of HDMI 1.4!|s support for 3D video, but would still be fully compatible with older devices in non-3D applications.
A recent release of the HDMI Specification, Version 1.4a adds support for some additional 3D video formats (broadcast), making the interface more widely compatible with emerging 3D technologies.
Companies that are licensed to use HDMI technology are known as HDMI Adopters. Only HDMI Adopters can incorporate HDMI technology into their products and are authorized to use the official HDMI Logo.
HDMI Ethernet Channel
An optional HDMI feature that adds high-speed networking capabilities to an HDMI link, equivalent to a 100 MB Ethernet connection. Connected devices can share an Internet connection or take advantage of other networking capabilities. Both sending and receiving devices must support the feature, and the connection must be made with a conforming cable, either Standard HDMI with Ethernet or High Speed HDMI with Ethernet.
HDMI Micro Connector
The smallest HDMI connector type, similar in size to a Micro USB connector.
A device that both receives and sends HDMI signals, such as an AV receiver. A/V receivers are considered HDMI repeaters.
A device that receives an HDMI signal, such as an HDTV.
A device that sends an HDMI signal, such as a DVD player or Set-top box.
High Definition Television. A widescreen television capable of displaying a 720p signal or better.
HEC See HDMI Ethernet Channel.
High Speed HDMI Cable
High Speed HDMI cables are tested to a more rigorous performance standard, aimed at meeting the needs of high-end home theater systems. It is performance tested to 340 MHz, and can reliably transmit a 1080p signal (and more) up to 7.5 meters. High Speed HDMI Cables are referred to as Category 2 cables in the HDMI specification. (See also:Standard HDMI Cable).
High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet
A High Speed HDMI Cable that also supports HDMI Ethernet Channel functionality, providing a channel for a 100 MB/sec Ethernet link between connected devices.
In an interlaced scan, only half the screen is refreshed at a time. The video signal beam skips every other line, and fills in the missing lines on the next pass. (See also: Progressive Scan)
Licensed Product See Compliant Product.
One of the new features enabled in HDMI 1.3, Lip Sync functionality enables the automatic synchronization of video and audio signals, correcting for processor lags that can force audio and video timing out of proper alignment.
The latest multi-channel audio codecs are based on lossless compression algorithms with extremely high fidelity, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
Mini HDMI Connector
A miniature HDMI connector, introduced in HDMI 1.3, designed for use in mobile and handheld products where space is at a premium. The Mini HDMI Connector is functionally compatible with the same number of pins as the larger Standard HDMI Connector and completely compatible as well. The Mini HDMI Connector is referred to as the Type C Connector in the HDMI specification. See also Standard HDMI Connector.
A family of audio/video codecs developed by the Motion Picture Experts Group. The majority of TV content !V cable, broadcast, and satellite !V is currently transmitted in the MPEG-2 format. HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc players, along with some recently launched satellites, rely on the newer and more powerful MPEG-4 format.
The legacy analog television broadcast system used in the US, being replaced by the ATSC digital system.
One-bit Audio See DSD.
Optical Audio Cable See TOSLINK.
A digital audio signal created by sampling an analog signal and expressing it in binary form. All versions of HDMI include the capacity to transmit eight channels of uncompressed, 192 kHz PCM audio.
Pixel depth See Color Depth.
In a progressive scan, the entire screen is refreshed on every pass. The video signal beam does not skip alternate lines, but fills in each line every time, which tends to render smoother motion sequences. (See also: Interlaced Scan)
Quad HD See 4K.
The frequency with which a video image is refreshed, expressed as either frames per second (i.e. 60 fps) or as an equivalent frequency (i.e. 60 Hz). Faster refresh rates tend to render smoother motion sequences. Refresh rates for broadcast TV vary by region !V for example, European HD systems run at 50 Hz.
Repeater See HDMI Repeater
A color model in which red, green, and blue values are used to reproduce a set of standard colors. Many HD monitors use the RGB color model.
An audio-only digital interface that transmits audio data over either an optical cable (TOSLINK) or a coaxial cable with RCA connectors. Sometimes used in conjunction with HDMI-connected systems to transmit audio from the TV!|s internal tuner back !¡±upstream!¡L to an AV receiver. Newer devices with Audio Return Channel functionality make this configuration obsolete, relying on the HDMI connection to transmit audio both to and from the TV.
Super Audio CD. An optical disc format for high-fidelity audio, using one-bit (DSD) audio encoding, developed by Sony and Philips Electronics as a replacement for the audio CD. Compared to the conventional CD, SACD boosts frequency response from 20kHz to 100kHz, and dynamic range from 96 to 120 db. Classical and jazz titles tend to dominate the SACD catalog.
An analog connection standard, also known as Euroconnector or Peritel. SCART is a 21-pin connector used in Europe to interconnect satellite receivers, television sets, and other audiovisual equipment. SCART transmits both video and audio data in a single cable. The name comes from "Syndicat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radiorecepteurs et Televiseurs."
Set-top Box (STB)
A device for decoding incoming AV signals, such as programs from a cable or satellite TV network. Many models also include DVR (digital video recorder) technology. Virtually all STBs now rely on HDMI output.
Sink See HDMI Sink.
Source See HDMI Source.
Standard HDMI Cable
A Standard HDMI cable is one that is tested to performance standards that satisfy the requirements of most consumers. It is performance tested to 74.5 MHz, and can reliably transmit a 1080i or 720p signal up to 15 meters. Standard HDMI Cables are referred to as Category 1 cables in the HDMI specification. (See also: High Speed HDMI Cable) .
Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet
A Standard HDMI Cable that also supports HDMI Ethernet Channel functionality, providing a channel for a 100 MB/sec Ethernet link between connected devices.
Standard HDMI Connector
The 19-pin plug that is currently used in most HDMI-enabled products. The Standard HDMI Connector is referred to as the Type A HDMI Connector in the HDMI specification. See also Mini HDMI Connector.
STB See Set-top box.
A Color Space used primarily in digital photography applications.
Transition Modulated Differential Signaling, a technology for transmitting serial data at very high speeds. TMDS is a core technology used in both DVI and HDMI.
A fiber-optic cable that transmits digital audio using the S/PDIF interface format.
Type A HDMI Connector See Standard HDMI Connector.
Type C HDMI Connector See Mini HDMI Connector.
The Video Electronics Standards Association. The industry group responsible for the EDID standard and other technical specifications.
A new standard for an expanded, !¡±wider!¡L color space or gamut, enabled by HDMI 1.3 and being developed by Sony and Mitsubishi, among others. The xv color space (also known as xvYCC color) incorporates a much larger portion of the visible color spectrum than the older RGB color model.
The original acronym the color model now known as x.v.Color.
A family of color spaces, used in some HD applications, where color is expressed using a luma component plus red and blue chroma components, rather than by describing absolute color values, as in the RGB color model. Also known as YPbPr color.
Thanks for HDMI Licensing, LLC