USB-IF Announces USB A/V Device Class


As mobile computing devices have become more prevalent, the need has grown for a way to transmit audio and video from mobile devices to televisions and other displays. Wireless technologies such as AirPlay and WiDi have garnered a lot of attention, but at the end of the day, impromptu connections are more likely to rely on an adaptable wired standard. Unfortunately, with devices such as cell phones sporting little more than a USB port, there have been a variety of proposed technologies popping up that attempt to use that USB port in ways unintended by the USB Implementer’s Forum. To fill this gap, the USB-IF has announced the USB A/V device class. There are surprisingly few details at this point about the standards and implementation of the new device class, but the basic goal is clear: to create a set of standards for pushing audio and video content over USB. I’m not sure that I would agree that this will end up competing with HDMI so much as possibly residing alongside HDMI as a specialized connection type in a manner similar to how composite connections have become the default legacy analog connection. Of course, even that depends on how long it takes the USB-IF to release details on USB A/V. IF USB A/V takes it’s time coming to market we will probably see some third-party technology entrenched as the defacto standard.

The USB-IF has been none too happy about the various standards that have been pushing other signals than USB down its ports and cables with solutions such as MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) or MYDP (Mobility DisplayPort) being severely frowned upon as they don’t conform to the USB standard. It seems like the USB-IF has finally come clean as to why, as it has announced a new USB audio/video device class that will allow for A/V signals to be transported over USB.