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Belkin OmniView 4-port KVM/audio/USB/PS2 Switch

Belkin OmniView 4-port KVM/audio/USB/PS2 Switch - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Belkin OmniView SOHO series 4-port KVM Switch with Audio PS/2 and USB offers users a higher-end solution.
 92% Rating:   
Filed under: Monitors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Belkin Feb 11 2003   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Monitors > Belkin F1DS104T

Belkin OmniView 4-port KVM/audio/USB/PS2 Switch Review

It might seem inconceivable to someone who just started working on their first computer that anyone would actually need a Keyboard/Video/Monitor Switch - let along one with four ports. Aside from the fact that around here we regularly work on at least two computers at once, and sometimes many more, a KVM switch can free up one heck of a lot desk space if you have multiple computers to operate.

By routing the keyboard, mouse and monitor signals through to one set of well... keyboard, video and mouse you save a bundle on hardware otherwise necessary to operate two, three, or even four computers. There are KVM's (as they are called) which can handle much more than 4 four computers, but their cost is significantly higher as the complexity of the device increases.

The Belkin Omniview KVM supports up to four computers with monitor resolutions of as high as 2048x1526 @ 85Hz. The unit is flash upgradeable so as firmware improves the unit can be upgraded.

Retailing for about $180USD through Belkin's website, or other online stores, the Belkin OmniView SOHO series 4-port KVM Switch with Audio PS/2 and USB offers users a higher-end solution than those beige media switch boxes which commonly retail for less than $30.

The big difference which separates the Belkin Omniview from other digital KVM's is that it supports either USB or PS/2 based keyboard and mice. As if that weren't nice enough, the KVM also supports two audio channels. Most digital KVM's do not support this many connections, and inexpensive analog units rarely support more than the basic keyboard/video/mouse features.

The Belkin Omniview KVM itself is about 19cm tall, 6cm wide, 24cm long and black in colour. The base is smooth, so the weight of the wires can kind of drag it back if it is on the edge of a table.

Speaking from past experiences, Belkin's SOHO (F1D9100) video cables have better shielding so there is less interference displayed by the monitor. All KVM's can introduce EMI distortion into the video signal to some extend. Interference can cause perceptible ghosting, shadows, colour inconsistencies and other problems.

EMI interference usually gets worse as the refresh rates and resolution increase, so if you are running your display at 1280x1024, or 1600x1200 through a KVM, even the unit we are testing today, you may see some very slight ghosting. Ferrite coils help to reduce the issue as does shielded cable. The Belkin cables we received along with the Omniview KVM are not included with the unit, but if you want to ensure the best possible picture they are highly recommended as would be equivalently shielded KVM cables.

Typically, a good KVM monitor cable will come with ferrite coils integrated into it at each end. These small cylinders wrap around the wire a few inches from the connector and help to filter out signals which could otherwise cause signal distortion. As a basic rule of thumb, never cheap out on the cables with a KVM - the lousy picture that would otherwise result is just not worth it.

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Contents of Article: Belkin F1DS104T
 Pg 1.  — Belkin OmniView 4-port KVM/audio/USB/PS2 Switch
 Pg 2.  Ports and cables

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