May 27 AT 9:09 PM Taylor Wimberly 33 Comments

Hands-on HDMI out with the Sprint EVO

No retail stores are stocking the micro HDMI cable needed for the Sprint EVO just yet, but one of our visitors pointed out anyone can order one online (Thanks Cary). Arrow Electronics is selling the correct cable for under $10 and I overnighted one to test it out. If you feel like grabbing your own, they have about 125 left in stock and my order processing went very smooth. If those happen to sell out, I’m sure our Android accessories store will stock them soon.

Getting the HDMI out working was fairly simple as it’s just plug and play. After the micro HDMI cable is connected to the phone and TV, there will be a HDMI icon in the notification bar to let you know everything is working.

I can think of all kinds of cool uses for sending video from my Android phone to a TV, but it appears the functionality is limited to the Gallery app right now. Users can playback pictures and video that they captured on the phone and that’s about it. I’ve been told Sprint is blocking the other apps from displaying video due to DRM issues.

Hopefully the HDMI out features will be expanded in a future software update. If someone discovers a hack to make more apps work, please let me know and I’ll share with the group.

Update: Some people are claiming that YouTube works, but I have been unable to get any video out with it. This could be related to the compatibility issues we discussed between HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 1.0-1.3 devices. My TV is 2 years old, so maybe that is the issue. I have the Samsung LN46A650.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Jonathan

    Man, at this rate, by June 4, we’ll find out that the EVO will have $200 in mandatory monthly charges and that we’ll only be allowed to use it between the hours of 2 and 4 am.

  • http://Website sherifffruitfly

    The sex tape business will never be the same!

  • http://Website NeoteriX

    Is it possible for you to try converting outside media (like a 720p movie trailer) into an Evo compatible format for playback?

    • http://Website slick517d

      I use handbrake. Use the iphone and ipod touch preset. the program is free.

    • http://Website cdog

      easy find a good mp4 converter( I use WinAvi mp4 converter), convert video, an place on your micro sd card your phone will find it when you open your video player.

  • Mike Leahy

    Yeah.. I just checked the Sprint developer docs on getting apps to work with HDMI.. Lets just say it’s a big hack and not the good or useful kind. I haven’t tried to get it working with an OpenGL app / game yet, but you have to embed a “VideoView” into an apps GUI and while you can do this and apparently make it a 1x1px size and try and hide it that is well.. hacky.. Seemingly you can have other GUI components in the same screen shared by VideoView and all those elements will be visible over HDMI. My spidey dev senses tell me though this is absolutely not going to play well with an OpenGL app or game. So yeah.. HDMI support as currently implemented in the EVO 4G is not the panacea we’ve been looking for as developers. Basically Sprint’s implementation is “kludgey” and will not play nicely with other devices potentially offering HDMI output. It will be interesting to see how other manufacturers solve this issue until big G has official support ready.

    IE what us devs want is at minimum a requirement of adding a single line into the AndroidManifest.xml for an app and when HDMI is connected and the user enables it via the notification / statusbar all graphic and audio output goes out over HDMI with video and even audio still available from the device itself.

    Basically it’s just not there yet and HDMI as implemented by Sprint seemingly will not benefit real time apps / games.

    Hopefully big G gets it right in Gingerbread and HDMI bliss is spread far and wide.

    :: sigh :: this is simply YJAMFB — yet just another major fragmentation bomb

    • http://Website Kyle


      Do you think the Modaco’s and Cyanogen’s of the world will be able to unlock this for its full use? I anticipated this would be the case, but I did with the caveat that, since its Android and HTC, someone would “fix” it in relatively short order. Is this a software-only issue, or is a hardware-related issue? Thanks for your response.

      • Mike Leahy

        @Kyle and such…

        This is kind of an area I’m not all too familiar with / work with, but I’ll take a stab.

        Claiming “DRM issues” as randomsurfer mentions above is an indirection by Sprint as to why one can not send video and audio of standard apps and all vanilla OS / “Android desktop” functionality over HDMI. If that were so then I wouldn’t be able to have 1900×1080 output from my desktop running an older OS to my projector which I’m using right now. I can’t comment on how Sprint / HTC has implemented the HDMI functionality for the EVO 4G, but I don’t see any reason why there should be a limitation to sending unencrypted video & audio via HDMI from the raw device. It has nothing to do with a supposed (existing or planned) Android app that could conceivably compromise encrypted HD media.

        As long as the media being played is not encrypted (AACS or other means) then there should be no problem. I don’t think we’ll see HD encrypted media on Android for some time as it’s a big can of worms as far as DRM is concerned:

        1. Each manufacturer would need an HDCP license (costly?)
        2. Linux and the mostly open nature of Android may immediately prevent any licensing agreements (don’t know / can’t confirm this)
        3. Extra cost for hardware HDCP / let alone development for Linux specific issues
        4. The whole nature of encrypted media relies on a chain of trust and DRM from the playing software to the hardware transmission. IE my understanding is that HD media playing software also communicates to the hardware / drivers via HDCP encryption. There is barely a nice media player stock in Android let alone anything DRM ready.
        5. 6. 7. 8. I’m sure there are more reasons why we’ll never see HD encrypted media on Android!

        As @randomsurfer mentioned various media content likely has additional mobile media costs; a slight thorn to someones side.

        Basically I’d liken Sprint’s DRM indirection to Erick Tseng’s _famous_ “there are many secrets left in the Nexus One that will be discovered later” line. Basically it’s just not finished yet and the manufacturers and carriers are waiting on big G to implement unencrypted video/audio transmission via HDMI in a later OS / maybe Gingerbread.

        I highly doubt either HTC or Sprint will do anything more than they already have to support HDMI for the EVO 4G which basically amounts to hope your happy with viewing your gallery and recorded 720P videos as that is all your getting…

        :: sigh :: Gingerbread Gingerbread!!! Now now!! ;P big G I say jump…

  • MetalMessiah78

    I really wanted to get the EVO, and while this is not a complete deal breaker in and of itself, along with all the extra fees, it’s becoming less desirable. You would think Sprint, with all its problems with attracting and retaining customers would pull out all the stops with this, but it almost seems like they are setting themselves up for failure.

  • Canterrain

    This is somewhat disappointing, and I’m not sure what DRM issues would be a problem with viewing on a TV screen as opposed to a phone screen.

    Hopefully with time this gets unlocked for its full use, else the point of having the port at all is pretty moot at best.

    • http://Website NeoteriX

      The same licensing issues that made it ok for Hulu to be broadcast on computer screens, but blocked access to things like Roku in their original attempts to play Hulu on the TV. Things like video content, shows, movies, etc. are licensed as bundles of rights, and one of the important and distinct rights is playing something on TV.

      Understandably, the ability to play content on TV would command higher licensing rates than on a mobile device, so this is why there is a disconnect.

      That said, I’m not sure why AndroidandMe is having problems with Youtube; Youtube was heavily demoed at the HTC Evo Launch Party in New York City. Presumably, it should work.

  • Ng LC

    The video quality was amazing!

  • http://Website randomsurfer

    I don’t think the video output restriction is due to “DRM issues”. HDMI has content protection. I think it has more to do with content licensing. Remember that Hulu will not run on a mobile phone, even those with flash installed. SprintTV would be nice, though, it probably look like crap going to a 50″ screen.

  • http://Website sparki

    Being that I’m an android newb, and this will be my first smart phone (switching from verizon for it, plan price-even w/ the $10 EVO tax- is less for a 2 line plan).. I’m loving these updates, and am very happy I found your site. I’ve added you to my rss and have been checking back daily to see what new info you have, I’ve been waiting for this update the most… and to see it on a similar TV to mine is cool. But I’m now a little disappointed in how restricted HDMI will be… it’ll be cool for what I capture, but I was hoping I could do more with it.. presentations or video from apps.. it would be cool if a video conference app like fring or skype worked..

  • http://Website dKay

    I would think there’d be a way to trick the phone into thinking that a video that you put on it was taken by the camera, no?

  • http://Website legacy

    Were you able to try loading a 720p file onto the SD card and playing it from there? If so, did the video output NOT work from there? Can these type of files be added to the gallery, or JUST photos and videos taken on the phone?

  • http://Website ronabong

    Great video quality! what did you use for recording?

  • http://Website Jak Crow

    What ever happened to testing to see if the N1 could do video out via the USB port like the Incredible?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Never found the cable to order. Someone let me know if it’s out there.

  • http://Website What the

    If this is not possible, why did Sprint Demo the EVO with movie trailers on a big screen?!?

  • http://Website worldbfree4me


    Sprint has upward 40 million customers Sprint/Nextel + Kindle 1st gen + Boost Mobile & Virgin Mobile. So, if you and a few other clowns decide not to purchase this Phone because a $10 add on fee and because the HDMi out does not play well with all things right now, no loss for Sprint. This Phone and others like it were meant for a certain demographic (Adults). Not teeny boppers still on their parents dime.

  • hermyhalloween

    Why bother having HDMI out?
    I see this equally as dumb as disabling headphone out except for ringtones while getting a call. Absolutely absurd. DRM is a cop-out excuse and has no merit. DRM is built into HDMI, but how is there any risk of DR issues when being displayed on an TV, anyway?

    Sprint (and HTC) are just testing the limits of their customers. And for me, they have stepped far past the boundaries with the EVO taxes and usage restrictions.

    • Mike Leahy

      While I can’t really comment on the limits of testing customers I do think claiming DRM as the reason HDMI can’t output unencrypted video / audio of the entire on device experience is not exactly an honest indirection (I’m sure this is what we all want! I thought we were going to get this until I had an EVO 4G in hand). I think this is more on Sprint though and not so much HTC. HTC is the manufacturer and not directly selling this device to consumers.

      As mentioned basically it seems they are saying HDMI is not ready / finished yet and we’re waiting on Google to implement it fully in a future Android OS release (mind you you wont likely see it on the EVO until a year (~9-10+ months) from now / re Gingerbread). I generally understand big G is working on this though. Until proven otherwise I highly doubt the HDMI support on the EVO 4G is HDCP compliant as mentioned in a post above, so DRM concerns simply is not a valid reason at all. This would require extra hardware for HDCP and a license granted to HTC for HDCP and I haven’t heard of any manufacturers getting such a license yet for a Linux / and or mostly open source (Android) related OS / product.

      The nickel and diming and such.. Well.. Big public corps will do that.. I was surprised recently to see Verizon test the waters with an announcement about tiered data for future 4G service; I can tell you that is not going to go over well for them either per se.

  • http://Website Trevor

    If Sprint was using only 4G in NY and youtube HQ only works on 4G im thinking that may be the reason no one can get youtube to play over HDMI, outside of the Sprint demos that we all saw.

  • http://Website Cuajito Ben

    So how is it that they were able to play the Prince of Persia trailer over the HDMI cable when the first demoed it back in March?

    • Mike Leahy

      The gallery app works over HDMI, so you can play back slide shows and HD video recordings from the device, but that’s it.

      What I’m sure we all want (devs & users!) is to have the full device experience over HDMI (audio & video) from the home screen to any app available on any HDMI equipped TV. Something as easy as plugging in the HDMI cable, a notification is the status bar appears, then click on it then all audio/video from the device goes out over HDMI. I’m hoping Gingerbread provides this functionality for Android as a whole and all HDMI Android devices when upgraded work flawlessly (knock on wood)…

  • Mike Leahy

    For a quick reference.. This is the kind of HDMI experience I’m sure we all want including us devs. This is a video of the Hard Kernel ODROID-T 10″ Android Tablet with full device output over HDMI.

    Come on HTC / Sprint… Get the EVO 4G working like this! ;)

    • http://n/a William

      you can play mp4′s and other related content. see the link provided on cnet:

      • Mike Leahy

        I know, but the real deal is being able to get the full device experience from the home screen / launcher to running any app or game easily over HDMI. Until then it’s hobbled as there is great promise with full HDMI capabilities. Can’t wait until it works how it really should.. :)

  • http://Website Multiverse

    No EVO for me after learning this. I had plans to mount a large touch-screen monitor in my car’s center console, and connect it via HDMI, with an HID connection for mouse-like control. The EVO was going to be my in-car navigation, entertainment, hands-free bluetooth-via-stereo, etc. But since I wouldn’t be able to control any of these apps through the externa touch-screen/HID, it’s a no-go. I’ll stick with my HTC 8525, because that brick makes my pockets look fat.

    • Mike Leahy

      Just a quick note… The functionality shipping with the EVO 4G is hobbled, but likely when Google adds official support in Gingerbread this will flow down eventually to the EVO 4G and proper HDMI output will be available. Until then though it’s part guessing game and lots of waiting.

  • http://MSPOT theyoungunn

    try a app called Mspot . it cost but it plays full movies with no prob

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