Published: Thu, September 01, 2016
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

HDMI Releases Alternate Mode for USB Type-C™ Connector

HDMI Releases Alternate Mode for USB Type-C™ Connector

A simple USB-C-to-HDMI cable will replace the $70 dongles that now exist, though the source device will need to have been created to output HDMI via USB-C.

The new specification will lead to the release of simple HDMI to USB-C cables that support the full range of HDMI 1.4b features, including 3D, Ethernet, and CEC. The HDMI cable will utilize the USB Type-C connector on the source side and any HDMI connector on the display side.

The new HDMI-USB Type-C cable will be based on the older HDMI1.4b, hence will not support Ultra HD 4K videos with HDR playback.

The new standard is not backwards compatible and a software upgrade will not enable the functionality in existing devices. Since it has now reached mainstream devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy Note 7, the HTC 10 and LG's G5, the Type-C connector is becoming more common.

In addition to HDMI, USB Type-C also supports VGA, DisplayPort, and other protocols.

This enables two of the most popular solutions for connectivity to come together-the small form factor, reversible, and multi-purpose USB Type-C connector being adopted by smartphones, tablets and PC products, and HDMI, which is the leading display interface with an installed base of billions of displays. "HDMI continues to evolve to meet the needs of the over 1,600 worldwide adopters making HDMI products, and grow upon the almost six billion HDMI devices shipped". The latest specification has been uploaded to the HDMI site for manufacturer implementation. Type-C was never envisioned as just another way to get people to buy more cables, and in fact unifies a number of different standards into one connector, cleaning things up and making it much easier to connect one device to another. USB Type-C eliminates the confusion of which side is up, as the connector is double-sided so there's no up or down involved.

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