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Display image from smartphone or tablet on TV with MHL connection

This article explains the functioning of display image from smartphone or tablet on TV with MHL connection and its usefulness.
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We have previously discussed how you can play music from your smartphone or tablet through your home cinema system, but what about video? While there are wireless options for doing this, it is still best to use a cable, especially if you don’t want a delay. An MHL connection is then the ideal solution.

What is MHL connection?

Many mobile devices still have to do without an HDMI port for connection to an external display, but are equipped with an MHL port. MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) is a physical connection between a display and a mobile device, using the microUSB port. This is connected to the HDMI connection of a TV with an MHL adapter / cable, after which the image of the mobile device can be mirrored on the TV.

Besides the fact that you can make a fast and stable connection by means of a cable, MHL offers other advantages. For example, you can operate the connected tablet or smartphone with the TV remote control, and the connected device can be charged while content is being played. This is not possible with wireless connections such as Miracast .


However, there are now various Mobile High-definition Link versions / protocols, as shown in the table below. MHL 2.x is on the rise, both on mobile devices and audio / video products. MHL 3.0 has already been announced but cannot be found on devices yet.

MHL 1.X MHL 2.X MHL 3.0
Video Max. 1080p @ 60fps Max. 1080p @ 60fps and 3D ready Max. 4K @ 30fps
Audio Max. 8 channel Dolby Digital and DTS Max. 8-channel Dolby Digital and DTS Max. 8-channel Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD
Flow Max. 500mA Max. 900mA to 1.5A Max. 2A

MHL cables

There are two types of MHL cables (cables going from microUSB to HDMI); active and passive.

The active MHL cable, actually an adapter, can be used between an MHL-ready mobile device and a display (TV) that does not have MHL support. This adapter must be supplied with a power supply for it to work.

The passive MHL cable can be used for a connection between two devices equipped with MHL support. Make sure you use the HDMI port on the display equipped with MHL support.

MHL connection

In addition, it is important to look at your mobile device as manufacturers often use their own connectors. For example, the Galaxy devices from Samsung have an 11-pin microUSB port, which requires a special adapter. This adapter is sold by Samsung itself.


Establishing an MHL connection is very simple and is as good as ‘plug & play’. This means that the connection is established as soon as the cables or adapters are connected. No special settings need to be made for this. Especially for users who want to play games, this physical connection is the solution because there is no delay and high resolution material can be displayed quickly.

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