MHL Might Already Be Charging Your Phone: Do You Know What It Is?


Don’t be tricked by the flashy phone in the steering wheel mobile gaming component of this video. While it’s definitely cool and makes playing racing games much more fun (easier to make gradual turns because of the turning radius), the folks at MHL weren’t promoting a game of any kind. In fact, you can’t physically SEE what they’re promoting because it inside the phone (and TV).

Technological standards are a marvelous thing that greatly help consumers. You know how nearly all smartphones these days have a 3.5mm headset jack, HDMI-out, and MicroUSB port? These are standards that many companies agree upon to make the lives of consumers easier by reducing the fragmentation of devices, accessories, peripherals, so on and so forth. The MHL consortium promotes the MHL standard that aims to help keep your battery charged.

When you connect your phone to a television for HDMI use, your battery will drain. Oftentimes it will drain a LOT since beaming this information is very media intensive. But your phone is plugged into a huge electronic device that’s plugged into a wall, so why should you have to waste battery? With MHL you don’t.

If both your television and mobile phone have MHL (check yours, there is a decent chance it does), your phone will actually charge while connected to a TV via HDMI. I don’t personally use the HDMI-out feature of my phone very often, but I can appreciate that when I will, I don’t have to worry about my phone dying.

This being said, the whole “standards” stuff can get a bit tricky.

The MHL standard was initiated by 5 companies: Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Nokia, and Silicon Image. You’ll most likely find MHL in the products for these phones. The companies invest money to have this standard developed and so, if other companies want to use the standard, they have to pay a licensing fee. That’s logical and I can understand why, but with the competitive landscape in the mobile world, it’s tough to see how a consortium of companies could easily play nicely with their competition for the sake of consumers. It doesn’t happen often… just think of all the patent lawsuits and other issues already causing so much ill will between competitors.

In any case, if you’re the type that uses HDMI-out a bunch, you may want to check to see if your phone and TV are MHL compatible. If only your phone has MHL, you can buy a cable that will enable TV charging even without your television being equipped.

That completes this morning’s educational lesson for lesser known things already in your mobile… we’ll continue this afternoon with “Part 2: earSmart”.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Don’t wanna spend 30 or 40 bucks for something I won’t use that often .

    1. Then don’t get scammed and buy a 10$ adapter like the rest of us.

      1. 5$ on ebay

  2. For the adapter.

  3. I got mhl adapter for 10 bucks off amazon for my evo 3d it has to plugged into a usb device for power i use my 360 its right there dont even have to turn it on then the hdmi cable from the tv works well i use it for the NBA league pass its only 32 dollars for the year and i can watch any NBA game i want on my tv pretty cool sure beats paying 180 dollars for it through your cable company 

  4. Guy in the video stated it was about $15-$25, where are you getting upwards of $40? Did you see it priced that much somewhere? Plus, just like he said in the post, this is mainly for those who use their “HDMI-out a bunch”. Personally, I do not (don’t have one on my phone), but if I did I probably would as it is a nice feature to have. Espeacially if you take a lot of videos and things like that. And now, with many of the apps/games in hi-def, why not use something like this to play on your tv if at home? And to charge it at the same time, AND use your tv remote? Just plain AWESOME!

  5. I’m more looking forward to wireless HDMI (even though it can’t also charge your phone at the same time like MHL can)

  6. i think mhl is pretty great and i really hope to see it in lots of devices in the future

  7. Mhl is a nice idea but using an Mhl adapter for tvs that don’t natively support it which is about 90% I personally prefer mini hdmi because mhl still needs a USB power source so it’s still two cables not anymore convenient than charger plus mini hdmi even worst is it doesn’t charge your phone fast as a wall charger and if you are doing intense gaming plus Bluetooth to watching true hd content your phone still actually loses charge slightly …it ok but not much better than mini hdmi

    1. That is onneee  lloonnnggggg sentence. I couldn’t even understand it all.

  8. Alright I will go on eBay right now thanks.

  9. Oh my gosh!! I so misread the title. I thought it was talking about charging as in taking money. =.P

    Pretty cool. I was wondering about this. That’s actually why I never even bothered with using HDMI output. I thought my phone would die. I wouldn’t even be able to finish a movie. LoL!!

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