Sony Z2 devices first with MHL 3.0 for 4K video over USB

MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) has received a new, 3.0 specification in an effort to keep up with consumer demand for connecting a mobile device to a display.

The new MHL 3.0 standard can support 4K video output at 6 Gbps through a micro-USB to HDMI cable, as well as enhanced 7.1 surround sound with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.

MHL is the method for connecting smartphones and tablets via the standard micro USB connection (which you would use to charge your phone and transfer files) to an HDMI input on your TV, using a dedicated cable.

As well as allowing for 4K video playback, the new 3.0 update also brings the benefit of a dedicated 75 Mbps channel for data transfer and it will also allow users to charge their mobile device at 2A - compared to the 900mA-1.5A offered by MHL 2.0. So you can charge faster at the same time as playing video.

Currently, only the Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone and Xperia Z2 Tablet support MHL 3.0. The technology was shown off at MWC 2014, with Silicon Image - a member of the MHL Consortium - demoing an Xperia Z2 connected to a Sony 4K TV using its SiL8620 transmitter chip (see more on Engadget).

MORE: MWC 2014 highlights

Newcomers and veterans of MHL are in luck, all you need to benefit from MHL 3.0 is an active MHL adapter. This connects your MHL-ready smartphone to a non-MHL TV.

Alternatively, if your TV supports MHL, then a passive cable can be used. With TVs such as the Sony KD-55X9004A supporting MHL 2.0, it seems likely that 4K TVs will come supporting MHL 3.0.

by Max Langridge

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.