Is an MHL cable worth your investment? The answer to that question, of course, depends on whether or not you have a smart phone with MHL output capabilities, and an input device capable of accepting such a connection. And I can’t answer either of those for you. But supposing you do have both an MHL-capable smartphone and a receiver, TV, or Blu-ray player that can accept it, this two-meter MHL cable from Accell might be of interest to you.
Let’s back up for a moment and address MHL and what it does. If you’re clamoring for a way to stream content to your large HD display, and aren’t interested in devices like the Apple TV and Roku, an MHL cable offers you the ability to enjoy the functionality of your compatible smartphone on your HDTV or through your home theater system.
Think about that for a second – any app you have installed on your mobile device can be displayed, in high-definition, through your home theater and on your big screen, all while giving your device a charge.
This unlocks an enormous amount of content, from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, YouTube, and Pandora to your personal photos and videos and more, all pumping through your home theater without needing to hook up a whole new device to act as the middle man. The sound is amazing and that goes for both the audio from the music player as well as that from streaming video. If you’re looking for a workaround to adding yet another component to your home theater system, but you still want to stream content, this is your solution.
Granted, stretching a cable across your living room if you’d like to be on your couch while surfing the web from your phone isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing of options. But I would argue that isn’t the number one use for the cable. A much more likely scenario would be to plug your phone into your AV Receiver or HDTV, run Netflix, and watch Iron Man, while giving your phone a charge and taking a two-minute break from the Facebooks. Is it as convenient as having a dedicated streaming box or wireless connectivity? Maybe not, but for $17.99, it’s not too shabby an option, especially when you consider that wireless HDMI transmitting products will usually run you over $300.
It is still a bit early for this technology, as you may have trouble finding compatible devices and components. You can see a full list of compatible devices from Accell, here.
The device also need to use the Micro USB 5-pin standard, so Samsung’s Galaxy SIII and Note 2 are not compatible, as they use an 11-pin connector. Still, as more and more devices become available that can run MHL, the technology should have a good future, so it’s nice to see someone making a reasonably attractive option to blander-looking alternatives.