Product Review (September 2003) - Belkin
OmniView SE Plus Series 4-Port KVM Switch

The demand for high performance video switching has increased over the years, especially with the popularity of high-definition television. Many of these switchers are costly, making them unattractive for the general consumer. High-definition video requires bandwidths that far exceed the traditional standard-definition video products such as DVD. We searched for an inexpensive solution for high-definition video switching needs and found Belkin's OmniView SE Plus Series KVM (Keyboard, Video and Mouse) product. KVMs are specifically designed to allow control of many computers from a single user interface (monitor, keyboard and mouse). The OmniView is designed to be daisy-chained with more units as the user's needs grow. The design supports flash upgrades to current firmware versions and can hot-key switch between systems using the keyboard. We used this product in a limited role to switch between four different high-definition sources without using the keyboard or mouse. Therefore, our review only focuses on the video quality and not the many others features offered with the OmniView. The video bandwidth supported by the OmniView can be as high as 2048x1536@85Hz, which far exceeds the HDTV requirements.

The front panel of the OmniView has a flashing amber light to indicate the active channel. This can be a problem for home theater environments when using the switcher in a dark setting as no one likes to see a flashing light. Since a dedicated button is available for each input on the box, the indicators can be covered to prevent any distraction when watching the display.

The rear panel of the OmniView accommodates four sets of computer inputs. In our case, we used one HTPC and two other high definition sources for testing. The main benefit for our setup was the high-bandwidth video switching capabilities built into the OmniView. Our home theater system has several high definition sources including a Sony Vaio PCV-RZ22G as our HTPC (Home Theater PC) with a MIT MDP-100 high-definition receiver installed. This gives us full high-definition recording and playback capabilities of over-the-air content. We also connected our RCA DTC100 and Samsung SIR-T165 set-top boxes. Belkin supplied their All-In-One PRO Series Plus cables to connect our high-definition sources to the OmniView. Two different versions of these cables are available (PS/2 or USB) up to 10 feet in length. None of the other connections were used during our test.

Video quality was excellent with the OmniView KVM. We watched a variety of program material ranging from NBC's Tonight Show in HD to HBO's HD channel on DirecTV. We experienced no degradation in video quality even when comparing it to a direct connection to the display. Looking at our reference D-VHS tape from HD-Net showed no loss in video quality. It was great to experience such performance from a product that's actually affordable.

Conclusion
The Belkin OmniView SE Plus Series 4-Port KVM Switch provided an inexpensive way to switch four high definition video sources using a simple KVM unit. There are not a whole lot of products on the market capable of switching high-definition video with little or no degradation in quality and certainly not for $219. Belkin's Omniview SE Plus Series 4-Port KVM Switch can solve your video switching needs and does it without emptying your wallet. Images remained very clean with no noticeable loss in resolution or color. This product far exceeded my expectations and did so at a price that anyone can afford.
- Kevin Nakano


Review System

Display: Mitsubishi - PD-5010 50" High Definition Plasma (ISF Calibrated)
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box #1: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
Set-top Box #2: RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Satellite Receiver
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: Monster Cable M Series M500DVI DVI-D Cable
Power Conditioning: Panamax MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 ISF Certified All-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Colorphotometer with ColorFacts Software


Review at a glance

Belkin - OmniView SE Plus Series 4-Port KVM Switch

Features:
• Works with multiple platforms
• Offers enhanced security-Direct routing of signals to each computer
• Supports video resolution of up to 2048x1536@85Hz
• Features hot key switching
• Sets up easily for automatic scanning
• Flash upgrades to current firmware
• Offers keyboard and mouse emulation
• Expands configurations through dedicated daisy-chain ports
• Features rack-mountable design
• Comes with a Belkin Five-Year Warranty and Free Technical Support
• Backward compatible with Belkin's SE Series KVM Switches

Part Number: F1DZ104T

UPC: 7-22868-45245-5


Company Information
Belkin Corporation
501 West Walnut Street
Compton, CA 90220
Customer Service/Sales:
800-2BELKIN
800-223-5546
Sales: 877.523.5546
Tech Support: 310-898-1100 ext. 2263
Fax: 310-898-1111

URL: www.belkin.com

Any comments or questions regarding the LAAF Web Site should be forwarded to laaudiofile@socal.rr.com

Copyright © 1985-2003 L.A. Audio File.