ACCELL MHL adapter turns the HTC Flyer into a portable media server (review)

Summary:The ACCELL MHL to HDMI adapter provides outstanding support for output and sharing the entire HTC Flyer experience while the HTC Media Link DLNA adapter leaves a lot to be desired.

As we move to using our smartphones and tablets more and more for advanced functions like web browsing and media, there are valid reasons for wanting to view and share that media content on larger screens. In the past, I have used my PlayBook and Nokia N8 (both with direct HDMI out capabilities) to show off photos and videos to family and friends, as well as enjoying media on hotel TVs that were stored on my devices. I recently had the chance to take a look at two connection products for viewing this content on large HD TVs; the HTC Media Link and ACCELL MHL to HDMI adapter. You can check out product photos of these two accessories in my image gallery as well as in the video I found below on YouTube.

As you will see below these two accessories are priced radically different from each other and to me it is clear that the less expensive solution is easily the better option for enjoying media on selected devices. I would love it if all new smartphones and tablets functioned like the Nokia N8 and RIM BlackBerry PlayBook with direct HDMI out connectivity options or included adapters, but that is not yet the case,


Image Gallery: Check out product images of the ACCELL MHL adapter and HTC Media Link.
Image Gallery: MHL to HDMI adapter
Image Gallery: HTC Media Link

ACCELL MHL to HDMI adapter

The HTC Flyer, HTC Sensation 4G, HTC EVO 3D and Samsung Infuse 4G all have microUSB ports that also function as HDMI out ports with the proper MHL adapter. I understand you can pick up adapters for the Samsung Infuse 4G at AT&T and for the HTC Sensation 4G at T-Mobile that may work for your device. The ACCELL MHL to HDMI adapter is a compact, inexpensive solution that works with all of these devices and performs very well.

The ACCELL adapter connects to the microUSB port on the smartphone or tablet with a full HDMI female-A port on the other end of the short adapter cable. One thing I learned as I attempted to use it is that your device may require that the adapter be powered with a microUSB cable and charger for the adapter to function. When I plugged the adapter into my HTC Flyer it did nothing until I provided power to the adapter. This will also work to charge up your device at the same time so that is a benefit of using the adapter. Since I pack an A/C adapter with me on trips, I can now enjoy video and charge my HTC Flyer at the same time.

The great thing about this adapter and devices like the HTC Flyer is that the adapter works to show everything you see on your HTC Flyer display on the external monitor. I tested and was able to view all of my photos, view and use the device as I normally would (great for giving demonstrations to an audience), enjoy my music on my entertainment system, watch movies downloaded via the HTC Watch service and Google Movies. BTW, did you know that you can now rent or purchase movies from Google and watch them in offline mode?

I only have an older 720p HD LCD TV, but the HTC Watch movies played in high definition and looked fantastic with no lag, stuttering, or any problems at all. Even streaming Google Movies played well on my large TV from the HTC Flyer. I have now found the device that will be going with me on trips so that I can enjoy video content in hotel rooms and on the airplane. The ACCCELL MHL adapter measures 6 inches in length, which is just fine since you will be plugging into an HDMI cable to output your video.

You can find this ACCELL MHL to HDMI adapter at various brick-and-mortar stores and at places online like Amazon for about $20 to $25. I ordered one for myself and will be packing it with me when I travel.

HTC Media Link DLNA adapter

HTC has to be one of the worst companies ever at providing official support for their own accessories and again it is impossible to find anything at all on the HTC Media Link DLNA adapter (Expansys USA link). I tried out this accessory a few months ago when I had an HTC ThunderBolt and was traveling to Alaska. It performs as stated, but has major limitations when compared to the MHL to HDMI adapter and is priced around $143. This is a ridiculous price for an accessory that essentially adds limited DLNA support to your non-DLNA television.

The HTC Media Link kit comes with a very small (71.5 x 45 x 8 mm) adapter with HTC logo. It also comes with an A/C adapter that is required to power the adapter through the microUSB port. It connects to your TV or monitor through the small miniHDMI port to HDMI (cable included) and connects to your supported HTC device via WiFi. Supported HTC devices include the HTC ThunderBolt, HTC Sensation 4G, and the HTC Desire HD.

You will see a Connected Media logo on your HTC device and tapping it when connected via the HTC Media Link adapter shows icons for music, photos, and videos. You can then tap on one and view this media on your connected TV or monitor. Unlike the MHL adapter you won't see your device display mirrored on your TV and there are a limited number of codecs and formats supported by the adapter.

You can also use the adapter to stream content from your Windows 7 computer to your HD TV, but I did not get a chance to try that out during my evaluation time.

The HTC Media Link adapter is tiny and easy to use, but I think it is way too overpriced for the streaming support it provides. You are really better off getting an HDMI adapter, but I understand some HTC devices don't support MHL output via the microUSB port (HTC ThunderBold for one) so your options may be limited.

Topics: Mobility, HTC

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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