HDMI Alt Mode And USB Type-C Everything You Need To Know

HDMI Alt Mode and USB Type-C as two essential technologies in modern devices, especially for multimedia and data transfer purposes.

HDMI interfaces can be found on many home technology items, such as televisions, projectors, monitors, and game consoles. You can connect HDMI-compatible devices: PC to monitor, game console to TV, etc.

However, many small form factors devices like smartphones and tablets do not have an HDMI port. So if you want to stream your smartphone to your TV via HDMI, is that possible?

The good news is that, yes, it is possible. HDMI Alternate Mode (HDMI Alt Mode) lets you connect HDMI-enabled devices with a USB-C port via HDMI, using a USB-C to HDMI cable.

Do you need a USB-C to HDMI adapter?

Everything You Need To Know About HDMI Alt Mode And USB Type-C

HDMI Licensing, the consortium that controls and licenses the HDMI specification, released HDMI Alt Mode in 2016. It supports all HDMI 1.4b features without dongles or adapters.

Using a USB-C to HDMI cable, you can easily connect your USB-C device to an HDMI-equipped display. Many modern USB-C to HDMI cables also supports Thunderbolt 3 and 4, opening up more possibilities for viewing images and transporting audio across multiple devices.

If you don’t have a USB-C to HDMI cable, you can always use an adapter, like Anker’s USB-C to HDMI Adapter, which supports 4K at 60Hz.

Supported HDMI Alternate Mode Features

Supported HDMI Alternate Mode Features

HDMI Alternate Mode supports HDMI 1.4b features. Although the question was asked whether HDMI 2.0 and above will be supported, HDMI licensing confirmed the HDMI forum had made no public statement regarding the HDMI 2.0b specification.

It means that HDMI Alt mode does not support [email protected] or offer HDR functionality.

For now, the full list of supported features for HDMI Alt Mode includes the following:

  • Resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160).
  • Audio Return Channel (ARC).
  • Support for 3D videos.
  • HDMI Ethernet channel.
  • Consumer Electronics Control (CEC).
  • Dolby 5.1 surround sound.

Most HDMI to USB-C adapters only support audio and video streaming. You must invest in an HDMI to USB-C cable to use the full HDMI range over a USB-C connection.

What devices support HDMI Alt Mode?

If your device has a USB-C port, it will likely support HDMI Alt Mode. Over the years, many smartphone manufacturers have embraced USB-C technology, making them more universally compatible with various devices.

New Samsung, Google, and Android phones now have USB-C charging ports. You can grab a USB-C to HDMI cable and use HDMI Alt Mode to transfer video from your smartphone to any HDMI display.

If you need to check if your USB-C device supports HDMI Alt Mode, look for the HDMI logo on the box, in the manual, or contact the manufacturer.

Do iPhones support HDMI Alt mode?

In 2012, Apple introduced the Lightning port, which has been on all iPhones since the iPhone 5. Although, over the years, Apple has switched some of its other products to USB-C, such as the iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and iPad Air, there is no indication that it will disable the iPhone’s Lightning connector for USB-C.

For now, iPhone users should use Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter or similar equivalent unless they’re using AirPlay to mirror their iPhone display. Unlike USB-C to HDMI cables, the Lightning adapter only supports up to 1080p HD and requires a separate HDMI cable to connect to the adapter.

Why should you connect your USB-C device to HDMI?

With so many ways to wirelessly connect your phone, tablet, or laptop to your TV, why should you invest in a USB-C to HDMI cable?

Whether you want to mirror mobile games to your TV or show friends and family your latest vacation snaps, a USB-C to HDMI connection can dramatically reduce any lag you may expect from a wireless setup.

Plus, if your Wi-Fi isn’t working or your wireless signal is weak, a cable means you can still connect to an HDMI display.

Although most smart TVs come with a range of built-in streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, your smartphone can display the same apps over HDMI if your TV doesn’t have such technology.

Compatibility is key

It’s easy to stream audio and video from your USB-C devices via HDMI, as long as your source device has an HDMI chip and is compatible.

However, this is somewhat debatable since most of the latest smartphones and tablets support it right out of the box.

But, for now, it’s the easiest way to mirror or send video signals from your devices to a TV or monitor without a wireless connection.