The elusive cable that brings Wi-Fi magic at less cost

Watching high-definition smartphone content on TV screen

The elusive cable that brings Wi-Fi magic at less cost

You are miles away from a Wi-Fi zone. But a huge, hi-definition TV stares right at you, pleading to play those HD movies you have saved on your smartphone.

Strange, but true. In this tech-savvy city, it is tough to find a Mobile Hi-Definition Link (MHL) cable or an adapter that neatly transforms your six-inch movie to a big screen wonder!

MHL and MHL-enabled smartphones have been around in India for the last two years. Yet, the power of this technology is still alien to most consumers and the retailers. MHL cables and adapters are still not easily available across the counter.

Neither are they bundled in the box with the phone. The few cables and adaptors stocked by the big brands are prohibitively expensive. The only option are the e-commerce sites.

Smartphone prices have crashed locally, triggering unprecedented access and interest in HD videos. A huge range of phones, some of them Indian, are now equipped with the MHL technology. Simply put, easy availability of MHL cables could help people without the costly Wi-Fi to plug their mobile content into their TV and watch high definition content.

The big screen could also be their projectors, tablets, Blu-Ray players or automotive accessories, as Rob Tobias, president, MHL, LLC explained during a recent visit to the city.

If the phone and TV are in a Wi-Fi zone or in a Wi-Fi home network, video content can easily be streamed from the small to big screen. Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast or the Google Chromecast are technologies that make this easier and simpler.

But once you are out of the Wi-Fi network (free Wi-Fi zones are still in their infancy in Bangalore), MHL could be the only option. Any HD display monitor can use MHL with an adapter and an HDMI cable. But the cumbersome adapter now available requires a separate cable to charge the adapter.

Once the phone is linked to a TV, the remote could be used to control content beamed from the smartphone. MHL 3.0, available since September 2013, also allows ultra HD (4K) content. Besides, the MHL link charges the device when connected.  So far, over 650 million MHL products have been shipped worldwide since the first MHL-enabled products were released in 2011.

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