At IFA 2016, the HDMI consortium has announced that the HDMI protocol can soon be integrated in the USB Type C port. This will make it easier to connect tablets, phones and PCs to the TV via a single USB-to-HDMI cable.
HDMI over USB Type-C
The HDMI consortium calls it ”HDMI Alt Mode” and says it will be possible to send HDMI signals with video and audio from a USB Type C port – the type of USB that is reversible.
In practical terms this means that you can use a single cable – no adaptor required – with a HDMI connector at one end and a USB Type C connector at the other end. With this cable you just connect your tablet directly to the TV/PC display. This can be an advantage since most tablets, phones and PCs come without HDMI ports.
In technical terms ”HDMI Alt Mode” supports up to HDMI 1.4b. This means up to 4K (only 30Hz), 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), CEC and Ethernet.
- “The USB Type-C connector is gaining traction in the mobile and PC markets,” said Rob Tobias, president for HDMI Licensing, LLC. “Consumers expect to easily connect these devices to displays with a USB Type-C to HDMI cable and utilize the capabilities and features of native HDMI. This specification will also result in more source devices incorporating HDMI. HDMI continues to evolve to meet the needs of the over 1,600 worldwide adopters making HDMI products, and grow upon the nearly six billion HDMI devices shipped.”
The HDMI consortium also used the opportunity to remind everyone that HDMI is by far the most widely adopted video interface standard. It is estimated that close to 290 million displays with HDMI will be sold in 2016 alone. ”100 percent of flat panel TVs” come with HDMI, they added. The same cannot be said for competing standards such as DisplayPort and Thunderbolt.
It is already possible to send DisplayPort signals over USB.
The consortium confirmed that HDMI over USB-C will not be backwards compatible and it cannot be added via a firmware update. It will require new hardware and no devices with support have been announced yet. So, patience.