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Native USB Type-C HDMI output is now a reality

Although no products are supported yet, the HDMI consortium has announced that they have developed an alt mode for USB-Type C cables.

Published onSeptember 2, 2016

hdmi usb type c

Yeah, we know it’s irritating that it seems like every time a cord becomes standard for mobile devices they come out with a new one, but the USB Type-C is demonstrating a lot of flexibility and power that makes us think it might be sticking around for quite some time. With its capability for alternate modes, some pins can be arranged to carry signals other than standard USB data. Today the HDMI consortium announced that they have developed an HDMI alt mode for USB Type-C cables.

Now if you have some strange aversion to ChromeCast or are just incredibly picky about your video quality, you can now plug your smartphone directly into your television and output content onto the big screen. The more common use is likely going to be users taking advantage of increasingly common USB Type-C ports on laptops to throw content from their computer to a display with an HDMI port.

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It’s worth noting that this alt mode is specifically suited for HDMI 1.4b, not HDMI 2.0. The speculation is that technical limitations prohibit the USB Type-C from conveying the higher data rate of HDMI 2.0, but really all this means for end-users is that your maximum resolution will be 4Kp30. Since not a lot of smartphones can even output 4Kp60, this shouldn’t be a concern for the vast majority of phone users.

The technology is here but the hardware is not. Manufacturers will have to begin integrating HDMI alt mode before we see supported devices, but given the established popularity of HDMI and the growing popularity of USB Type-C, we wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing supported devices as early as CES 2017.

What are your thoughts on this alt mode and USB Type-C in general? Sound off with your opinion in the comments below!

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