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Simple USB Type-C to HDMI cables are coming

The newly released HDMI Alt Mode specification allow for simple USB Type-C to HDMI cables for connecting phones and laptops up to TVs and monitors.

Published onSeptember 1, 2016

USB Type-C to HDMI cable

USB Type-C has been designed as a solution to much more than just moving data between devices. The connection standard already has the 3.5mm audio jack in its sights and it could also become a ubiquitous replacement for video connections too. In the meantime, the groups behind HDMI and USB have announced a new HDMI Alt Mode that allows for a simple connection between the two.

The new spec allows for a simple USB Type-C to HDMI cable that has just one of each connection type at each end of the cable. So there’s no need for any irritating and bulky adaptors or dongles in between devices. This spec will allow consumers to connect up their USB Type-C equipped smartphone or laptop up to any modern TV or monitor.

Alt Mode currently supports the HDMI 1.4b standard, but not the latest HDMI 2.0b specification. That still good enough for 4K video, 3D, HDMI-CEC, and Audio Return Channel data, but just means that customers won’t be able to play UHD 4K HDR video content over the cable just yet.

3.5mm audio vs USB Type-C: The good, bad and the future
Headphone jack Sony Xperia 5 V

With more and more smartphones and laptops supporting USB Type-C, this could be a pretty handy feature for those who like to carry around a little film library with them.


HDMI Releases Alternate Mode for USB Type-C™ Connector

Enables Delivery of Native HDMI® Signal to 4K/UltraHD Displays with No Adapters or Dongles

September 1, 2016 – HDMI Licensing, LLC today announced that it is releasing the HDMI Alternate Mode (“Alt Mode”) developed by the HDMI Founders for the USB Type-C™ Specification.  This will allow HDMI-enabled source devices to utilize a USB Type-C connector to directly connect to HDMI-enabled displays, and deliver native HDMI signals over a simple cable without the need for cumbersome protocol and connector adapters or dongles.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.  Almost 290 million HDMI-enabled display devices are expected to ship in 2016, including projectors, monitors and 100 percent of flat panel TVs.

HDMI Alt Mode will support the full range of HDMI 1.4b features such as: resolutions up to 4K, Audio Return Channel (ARC), 3D, HDMI Ethernet Channel, and Consumer Electronic Control (CEC). The HDMI cable will utilize the USB Type-C connector on the source side and any HDMI connector on the display side. Unlike the other Alt Mode display technologies which require various adapters or dongles to connect to HDMI displays, HDMI Alt Mode enables an easy connection via a simple USB Type-C to HDMI cable.

“The USB Type-C connector is gaining traction in the mobile and PC markets,” said Rob Tobias, president of 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.”

“USB Type-C is quickly becoming the connector of choice for many types of consumer electronics products wanting a single solution for audio, video, data and power,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF President and COO. “Easily connecting devices with USB Type-C to the huge installed base of HDMI-enabled TVs is a substantial benefit to consumers. We’re also coordinating with HDMI Licensing to ensure consumers can recognize when HDMI Alt Mode is supported on USB Type-C devices.”

The HDMI 1.4b Alt-Mode on USB Type-C Specification is available to all HDMI Adopters at


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