Home  ›  Glossary  ›



Mobile High-definition Link

A digital HD video and audio interface for connecting mobile phones and portable devices to HDTVs and other home entertainment products. It piggybacks on the standard micro-USB connector.

See: Micro-USB

MHL was only ever offered on a few high-end phones before USB-C started to replace micro-USB, starting with high-end phones. USB-C offers alternate (all-digital) ways to replicate the functionality of MHL, making MHL obsolete.

See: USB-C

By using an existing connector on the phone, MHL eliminates the need for a separate (micro)HDMI connector. This allows MHL phones to be smaller and lighter while still providing wired TV-output functionality.

A typical MHL cable will have a special micro-USB connector on one end, for connecting to the phone, and a standard HDMI connector on the other end, for connecting to a TV, etc. The cable usually must be purchased separately.

MHL connectors are actually modified versions of micro-USB, with a slightly longer male connector and deeper female connector, to accommodate extra pins. An extra bump on the male connector ensures it will not fit easily into an incompatible (non-MHL) phone. The female connector (in the phone) remains compatible with standard micro-USB plugs for charging, data transfer, etc.

MHL supports 1080p HD video and digital audio. It also simultaneously provides power to the mobile device. It can also enable the TV remote to control the mobile phone and its media content.

A competing standard that also connects a phone's USB port to a TV or monitor is SlimPort.

See: SlimPort

The MHL Consortium was originally comprised of Nokia, Samsung Electronics, Silicon Image, Sony, and Toshiba.

Last updated Nov 8, 2019 by Rich Brome

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.

Still confused? Spot a mistake? Give us your feedback on this definition.

back to Glossary Index

Subscribe to Phone Scoop News with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Threads Follow @phonescoop on Mastodon Phone Scoop on Facebook Follow on Instagram



All content Copyright 2001-2024 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.