Top positive review
Smart, Simple, Automatically Functional, Real Problem Solver
Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2018
I have 3 HDMI ports on the Vizio flat screen used in our bedroom, and I found myself challenged for two reasons (a shortage of input ports, along with one bad one). I have 5 input devices that I would like to use and of the 3 ports on the Vizio, I found my HDMI 3 input was a bad port that results in a very sub standard picture. This is true of anything I run through HDMI 3 on this TV, whether it be cable, DVD player, FireTV, Chromecast, or PC. They all are affected with poor image quality on port #3. So essentially I had only 2 HDMI ports that I could use.
My wife is technically challenged and gets easily confused on how everything works, along with having a hard time in trying to keep up with the complexities of my multiple Audio Video setups. So, I put a "Post It" note on top of this switcher so she will know which input to press for the various sources which we transmit to the Vizio flat screen. In the past, with the Vizio TV's remote, we always had to pull up the "Input" selection window on the TV's screen and switch from input to input, on screen, selecting between TV, "Component Video, HDMI 1, HDMI 2 and HDMI 3. With this device we no longer have to do that since I have run the single output from this switcher, directly to HDMI 1 on the Vizio, and never have to select any input whatsoever, since this switcher does everything automatically, as explained below.
Realizing I needed a solution, I set out to find a good switcher which could be mechanically or manually switched. I didn't need fancy. I just wanted functional and reliable. I looked at reviews for many makes and models and found far too many 1 Star reviews on switchers which had hundreds of reviews as a baseline for adequate feedback. I was excited when I found this one, due to its much lower percentage of 1 Star reviews and its much broader range of capabilities...including being able to be switched from a distance, with a handheld remote, as well as by a button on the front of the switcher, in case the remote malfunctioned (which mine has not, to date). And I really got excited when the product description claimed to automatically sense inputs when a device is activated with an outbound signal, which does not require you to even touch the Kinivo's remote to select the port that you are desiring. For instance, when I turn on the DirectTV cable box, the switcher automatically detects that and switches to the HDMI port that cable is hooked to. An LED light switches from red (connected) to blue (activated), indicating that the cable port is now receiving a signal, and is sensed as such. Other ports remain red, when no signal is coming from the device to which they are connected. Or they are dark if an HDMI cable is not connected at both the output source and an input on the Kinivo.
In the attached photos you will note several LED indicator lights. Starting from the far left and moving to the right on the Kinivo box, you will see the following 7 indicator light positions (2 of which are not "on", in the photo, as explained below):
1) Is Power. It is blue for "On" when plugged into an outlet. There are no lights at all if not plugged in.
2) Is a blue light indicating the main "Output" from the Kinivo to the flat screen is active and connected. If your HDMI cord is loose at either end, or disconnected at either end, then there will be NO LIGHT on the "Output" position.
3) Is a blue light, indicating that HDMI 1 is active with a signal being transmitted (from my DirectTV cable box), which is automatically sensed, since at the time of this photo, cable was "on" and all other devices were off, or disconnected.
4) Is red, because I have a Chromecast plugged into HDMI 2, but no signal is being transmitted to the Chromecast. When I choose to "cast" content or streaming from my PC or from my Samsung phone, then that signal transmission will activate HDMI 2 (automatically sensed by the Kinivo), and that 4th light will turn blue, while other lights will go to or stay red.
5) Is red, because I have a FireTV plugged into HDMI 3, but no signal is being transmitted to the FireTV input. When I activate FireTV with the Fire remote, it will activate HDMI 3 as well (automatically sensed) and that light will turn blue as the signal from HDMI 3 goes to the TV. And as before, all other input lights will be red, or dark, if not connected with cords.
6) Is dark, with no light at all, because I have my PC connected to the Kinivo through HDMI 4, but I don't have the HDMI cord plugged into the PC, thus the Kinivo does not automatically sense this input and will not turn to red (as an inactive input), until I connect the HDMI cord to my PC. I don't keep the PC's HDMI cord connected at all times because it overrides and negates the audio going to my PC's studio monitors, in favor of sending audio down the HDMI stream. And it would send a constant "on" output signal to the Kinivo, in conflict with any other devices trying to transmit through the Kinivo.
7) Is dark because I have HDMI 5 connected to my DVD player, but in this photo, the DVD player is off, so no signal is being sensed by the Kinivo. As soon as I turn on the DVD player it will turn red to indicate connection, but there is no outbound signal until I insert a DVD to play, at which time it will then automatically sense the signal coming from the DVD Player and will switch to blue and transmit through HDMI 5 to the Vizio flat screen.
I find this to be a rather exceptional device considering its well thought out simplicity and intuitive design for function and use. I have two other main viewing rooms in my house. One is a large flat screen in my living room, which has 4 sources that we use (DirectTV, DVD player, Fire Stick, and Chromecast). And there is my home theater room which has a 144" projection screen, driven by a very high end Epson 3D HD projector. And both of those rooms have component stereo systems linked to their sources, with large floor standing speakers (legacy JBL studio monitors, and Cerwin Vega professional grade speakers).
After purchase of this first Kinivo to see if it lived up to its claims for function and ease of use, and having discovered that it does, I just ordered 2 more of the 5 input Kinivo switchers, from Amazon for these other two viewing rooms. I love this device and only having to deal with one HDMI input for any TV screen we are watching. Time will tell, whether it is durable and reliable in the long run, but "out of the box" it has certainly measured up to my expectations, as a gadget loving consumer, looking for anything that can make life easier and simpler.