USB-C first debuted in Macs last year with the 12-inch Retina MacBook, and this fall even more Macs are expected to adopt the new standard port. While the MacBook is a lightweight machine (both physically and in terms of workload), MacBook Pro uses will expect wider functionality without adapters if USB-C replaces ports available on current hardware.
Add HDMI to the list of ports USB-C can now easily replace. The group behind the HDMI standard today shared that it’s now possible to connect HDMI and USB-C directly. Manufacturers will have to produce the cables, of course, but the new HDMI Alt Mode makes it possible. Previously, USB-C to HDMI required a dedicated adapter between cables.
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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.
The group also shared an FAQ post detailing the new HDMI Alt Mode for USB-C and highlighted these HDMI 1.4b features as supported:
- Resolutions up to 4K
- Surround sound
- Audio Return Channel (ARC)
- 3D (4K and HD)
- HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC)
- Consumer Electronic Control (CEC)
- Deep Color, x.v.Color, and content types
- High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP 1.4 and HDCP 2.2)
But as Engadget notes, new Ultra HD 4K video with HDR doesn’t make the cut, although being able to have a dedicated HDMI to USB-C cable from your Mac to your display without any dongles is positive news for the new standard port and future Mac owners.
Apple’s current solution for HDMI output from USB-C MacBooks is a bulky and pricey USB-C AV Adapter so this space should only continue to improve.