Samsung’s Galaxy S III uses MHL, but it isn’t compatible with the MHL gear you already own

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There was once a time when mobile phones had just one port, the power port. Then someone figured out it would be easier to drive a car without holding a phone up to the side of your head, and thus the headset jack was added. Phones soon started getting smarter, so another daring individual said we should stick a data port on our devices; cue the introduction of USB. Now that high end smartphones can also capture HD video, shouldn’t we be able to connect them to our televisions? Sure, why not, let’s slap an HDMI port on there too. All those ports add incredible functionality, but they’re not very appealing from an aesthetic perspective, so the mobile industry started consolidating them.

Nearly every phone on the market today uses microUSB to not only transfer data to and from a device, but also to power said device. Samsung, looking to take things a step further, shipped the Galaxy S II last year with MHL support. MHL, which stands for Mobile High-definition Link, enables a USB port to output an HDTV signal. In other words, you use the same microUSB port you know and love to connect a special cable that hooks up to your TV. Sounds brilliant, but there’s a slight problem.

The Galaxy S III, the hottest new Android phone on the market, doesn’t work with existing MHL cables and adapters. It uses MHL technology, but the arrangement of the pins inside the microUSB port on the latest Galaxy S have changed, which means you’re going to have to cough up an additional $30 for a cable that of course isn’t included in the retail box.

What’s the point of using a standard if you’re not going to fully comply with it? Samsung hasn’t issued an official statement regarding this predicament, and we doubt they ever will.

  • Anonymous

    NO! I was in the market for a new home theater receiver and noticed that Onkyo has MHL input straight from the phone. I was excited UP UNTIL I READ THIS article. That would mean it doesn’t work. That’s a very Apple move there, Samsung.

    • Jose Hernandez

      The MHL cable will work on your Onkyo input system, what the article is saying is that you have to get a special cable to connect the PHONE to the Onkyo system. You can not use any old cable, but get one from Samsung. You can still get your Onkyo System, and plug in whatever you like to it. Jesus!

      • Anonymous

        Please educate yourself with the new Onkyo receivers MHL integration.

      • Anonymous

        Jesus is omnipresent. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Richard Dewar

    The MHL standard is the data not the connector, the standard allows hardware manufacturers to use whatever common or proprietary connectors they like, and Samasung has made a statment about this, that says the 5 to 11 pin change is to oveercome limitation and allow OTG(on-the- go) USB to be used simultaniously with MHL, until now that has not been possible.

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