The MHL Connector on Samsung's Galaxy S II Explained [Video]

By Wesley Fenlon

Mobile High-Defintion Link technology is designed to bridge the gap between mobile devices and HD TVs.

When Samsung announced the sequel to the Samsung Galaxy S at MWC last week, one little factoid about the phone slipped under the radar: the debut of a brand new connector. The Galaxy S II charges via what appears to be a standard microUSB slot, but that’s not actually the case--the phone supports Mobile High-Definition Link, or MHL, which is designed to serve as an interface between microUSB and HDMI for mobile devices.

The MHL consortium was founded by Sony, Samsung, Nokia, Toshiba, and Silicon Image in 2008. Since the Galaxy S II is the first device to use the connector (another half-dozen phones and a tablet are currently in testing), there are no TVs that currently support MHL on the market. You’ll still be able to output video using ML technology and that HDMI connector, but the TV won’t be able to charge your phone. Thankfully, MHL has an adapter all ready to take care of that problem, which provides an extra microUSB slot for charging purposes.

In the future, MHL hopes to expand its ecosystem past the limitations of HDMI CEC so that devices from different companies will work together--a Sony TV will be able to talk to, control and charge a Samsung phone, for example. For a better understanding of how MHL works, check out this interview with an MHL rep.
With the ability to play HD video from a dual-core phone, charge the handset during playback, and even control it with a television remote, do you think you’d use your phone as a miniature media streamer?