MHL explained — top 5 things to do with MHL

Features Clare Hopping 13:28, 27 Sep 2012

We explain MHL — Mobile High-Definition Link and show you how to use it between your phone and your TV

MHL, AKA Mobile High-Definition Link, allows you to connect your smartphone to a HDTV to share video, music, photos and even games in high definition.

Although it's not a wireless technology, it does mean no interruptions if your Wi-Fi connection is disrupted, for example.

What is MHL?

MHL was first demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2008 by Silicon Image. The following year, the idea was turned into a working specification and in 2010, a group of companies called the Mobile High-definition Working Group comprised of manufacturers including Sony amonst others, then became the MHL Consortium.

The MHL Consortium aimed to develop a technology allowing you to connect your smartphone to high definition televisions and display using a specially developed HDMI cable.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the first device to use a different cable type to the previous 11-pin connector.

The difference between an MHL connection and a standard HDMI connection between your smartphone and HD TV is that it not only allows you to watch and listen to media from your phone on TV, but it charges your mobile device too.

What you'll need to start your home MHL network

  • An MHL compatible phone (such as the Sony Xperia T)
  • An HDMI-enabled TV
  • An MHL cable
  • Your phone's charger (if using a non-MHL ready HD TV)

How to set up your network

Setting up your phone and TV to work via MHL is much easier than using DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), but it is wired, meaning you'll need a cable that is long enough if you want to control your TV from the comfort of your sofa.

Now, all you need to do is connect your smartphone to your TV and you should see your smartphone's screen on your TV.

If you don't have an MHL-ready TV, you'll need to plug in your charger to ensure it charges your device the same time as your content is streaming - the last thing you want to happen is your phone conking out halfway through media streaming.

Now you can use your smartphone or TV remote (if applicable) to navigate around your phone and play media, or even better, get gaming!

Photos and video

Because MHL mirrors your phone's screen, you can view galleries, photos and videos exactly as you would on your smartphone, but on the big screen.

The Sony Xperia T, Sony's latest Android device is a great choice if you want a top viewing experience on your TV screen. The Album app makes it easy to view your photos by most recent, browse your folders, or check them out according to location. You can also zoom in on photos to see every minute detail.

Movies

All your downloaded films are available to watch on the big screen too. Whether you've side loaded them via your PC, or are using an app such as Netflix to watch films on the go, you can now view them on the big screen via MHL. If you have Sony's Xperia T smartphone, the Movies app is a perfect interface to sort through and play your movies in full HD too.

Music

Your tunes are another thing to stream to your HD TV via MHL. If you have a speaker system set up with your TV, crank up the volume and listen to them exactly as they were meant to be heard.

Games

If you're finding your smartphone's screen size a little too restrictive to play your favourite games on the move, why not play them via the big screen when you get home? Just hook up your phone and away you go. You can also add a keyboard or game controller to your phone to make gameplay much easier (only some games support this feature).

Apps

Because MHL mirrors your smartphone in every way, you can even use your full suite of apps on your TV.  Just hook up, navigate to the app and go!

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