Q&A: Can I get composite video out of my smartphone?

Q&A: Can I get composite video out of my smartphone?


A: Directly? No. But if your phone supports MHL – mobile high-definition link – there’s a decent chance you could. MHL incorporates HDMI output into the phone/tablet’s microUSB connector. But in order to get composite AV, you’ll need an HDMI to composite video adapter. It has to be able to accept HDMI input and output composite video and preferably stereo analog audio as well.

The unit we’ve shown here is available on eBay for around $30.

We can’t guarantee it will work but the theory is that with an MHL to HDMI cable plugged into this unit, you’ll get a composite video output you can plug into any TV of any age and it should appear on the screen. The thing to remember also is that the image quality won’t be anywhere near as good as what you’d see via HDMI. With HDMI and composite video, you’re talking about polar ends of the video quality spectrum so as good as HDMI output may look, don’t expect composite video to come close to matching it. It should look reasonably good, but not pin-sharp as you’d expect from HDMI.

But for this to work at all, your phone must have MHL built-in – that means phones like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S2, S3, S4, some of the Sony Xperias and so on – basically, late-model Android 4.1-or-later models with dual-core or faster chips on-board.

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