the belkin omniview 2-port dvi/usb kvm switch is garbage

my clever plan: ditch my imac, get a 20" apple cinema display, and use a kvm to share that between my new amd64 machine and my 12" powerbook.

first problem: my 12" powerbook doesn’t have dvi out, because i’ve got the older model with just plain-old vga out. oh well, i was looking for an excuse to buy a mac mini, anyway. (which i’ve ordered, but is currently on back-order.)

in the meantime, i got a belkin omniview dvi/usb kvm. then went back and ordered cables, because it doesn’t come with any (which is so pointless it makes my head hurt). just poking around at the box while waiting for cables, i noticed that there’s no way the connector from the monitor will actually connect to the switch: the design of the case simply doesn’t allow it. figuring this must be a common problem (since apple sells this kvm from their online store), i email belkin.

their first reply directs me to a kvm switch that i should purchase. i have to point out that is exactly the switch i have, and the one i am complaining about. i then get an email back that says i must call them. apparently the front-line email support monkeys can’t actually answer any questions.

in the meantime, the cables arrive so i decided to at least hook up the switch to share my keyboard and mouse between the imac and pc. so i hook it all up, and it doesn’t work. with the keyboard plugged into the keyboard connector, it simply does not pass anything through. i plugged it into one of the generic usb device connectors, which at least let it work, but it will not actually switch using the buttons on the front.

as you might guess, that rather defeats the purpose of a kvm switch. so forget it, i’m not fighting with it any more. i will be returning the belkin kvm switch and cables, and never buying another belkin product ever again.

but i’m still without a dvi/usb kvm solution. the gefen 2-port dvi usb switch looks like it would fit the bill perfectly, but it is $450, and i just can’t bring myself to pay nearly as much for a kvm as i’m paying for one of the computers that will be hooked up to it.

so i think i’m going to cancel my mac mini order, and just get a simple usb switch so i can share my mouse and keyboard between my imac and the pc with the new monitor. i’ll revisit it another day when there are some reasonably-priced dvi/usb switches that aren’t manufactured by the idiots at belkin.

and here’s how stupid i am: i had even read the comments to this review about how terrible the belkin kvm is before i went down this path.


I too purchased that Belkin DVI KVM to go between a 12" PowerBook and a Sony laptop and a 20" Apple LCD. Due to the case design, we also had to buy three sets of expensive cables from Belkin to do anything with the switch. If there was more space you could use any DVI cables or extension cables, but Belkin forces you to use theirs by severely restricting space.

Also, we have yet to get the Apple 12: hooked up to it because the Apple 12" DVI out is DVI-D (24 pin) and the Belkin cables and ports are DVI-I (29 pin). The necessary, expensive Belkin cable, will not plug into the Apple's DVI out port. In short, this KVM turned out to be a total POS before we even got it turned on.


» /KRM » march 8, 2005 7:20am

I have just had a bad experience with this switch. I brought the whole thing ( switch + 2 x Belkin KVM cables) these are very tight and the power cable covers up the extra USB plugs (bad design). Also 9v power supply is enormous. This gives problems with multi adapters (anothert bad design). My DVI monitor was just a series of fuzzy coloured lines. I phoned Belkin help line. They say this KVM is not gauranteed to work with all DVI monitors. I ask why they don't state this on the sales literature? They were totaly unhelpfull and very rude at one point. In the end they agree to send me a digital cable to try. It comes 3 weeks later. It makes no difference and I have just sent the whole lot back. In short, this is a piece of garbage. DON'T TOUCH IT WITH A BARGE POLE.

» Mick, Ascot, UK » october 11, 2006 3:04am

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