HDMI Alt Mode Standard Announced Enabling Native Output From USB Type-C Devices

A new standard is set to allow native HDMI output for devices with USB Type-C connectors. It could prove to be a great feature as more smartphones, notebooks, 2-in-1s, and tablet devices adopt the next generation USB interface and ultimately enable another option for these devices to act as media streamers or for big screen gaming on the go. Allowing HDMI output from USB-C could also give manufacturers the ability to eliminate HDMI connectors from their devices, to further slim them down or streamline their design.

The HDMI licensing group is ready to set a standard on a specification that will allow USB-C to HDMI cables to come to market. The spec will offer support for HDMI 1.4b features as well, with resolutions up to 4K, Surround Sound, and 3D capability. It sounds like such a simple thing, but this could be big.


While USB-C still isn't a de facto standard in mobile yet, it's going to become that way very soon. In fact, rumors have intensified that some companies won't even include legacy 3.5mm audio jacks in their smartphones going forward, which would force us to adopt earbuds and headphones based on USB-C (Lightning port on Apple) or require an adapter. Fortunately, though, that USB-C port we have can be used for myriad of purposes - not just charging and file synch.

The official page for this connector shows that USB-C to HDMI cables can also include Ethernet, although that would mostly be useful for hooking up a device (such as a desktop PC) that doesn't have wireless capabilities. Most who will hook their phone or tablet up to a big screen will simply stream from the device's storage, or stream from the network, wirelessly.

The HDMI licensing group expects that we'll begin to be see retail products with this capability and cables at CES 2017, which takes place in January. Hopefully we'll see some trickle out before then, though, as this is a simple design concept that could prove to be seriously useful to many a road warrior.

Tags:  Mobile, video, HDMI, tablet, usb-c