In early 2017, a company called Caavo unveiled a device of the same name aimed at unifying all your streaming devices. It took a novel approach to solve the problem, and while the box itself was undeniably beautiful, it was also fairly expensive at $400, and the setup was anything but intuitive. Now the company is releasing a follow-up in the Caavo Control Center, and while the feature set isn’t nearly as rich, it may be a much better product than its predecessor.
Like the original Caavo, the Control Center is designed to make your TV viewing experience simpler by tying your various devices — including streaming media players and set-top boxes — together in a single interface. The device uses a combination of infrared, Bluetooth, HDMI CEC, and machine vision, along with your internet connection to not only control all of your devices with a single remote, but search across all of the content available via your various boxes. It also features support for high dynamic range (HDR) signals, which the original Caavo did not.
The Control Center supports plugging in up to four devices, and supports popular platforms like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, game consoles, DVD and Blu-ray players, TiVo devices, and set-top boxes from DirecTV, Dish, Spectrum, and Xfinity. The box also has connections for your TV and your A/V receiver or soundbar. Setup is still slightly complicated, as you’ll need to make sure that the Control Center is in the line of sight for the remote, and that its IR emitter is facing the various devices you need to control.
“When Caavo introduced our first entertainment hub in February of this year, we solved unified search and control across multiple platforms, which is great if you know what you want to watch,” Caavo Inc. co-founder and CEO Andrew Einaudi said in a statement. “Today, there is so much great content available, we made our unified search even stronger and introduced hand-picked guides, editorial recommendations, and community features to promote sharing and discovery of great entertainment with Control Center.”
In addition to using machine vision, the Control Center also works with artificially intelligent assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, letting you control your entire home theater system with just your voice. As an example, simply saying “Watch The Big Lebowski” can turn on your TV, find the movie on a streaming service, and start playing it, all without a second command. If you’re not sure what to watch, Caavo provides suggestions via the “Watch” section of the menu, which offers up editorial guides and hand-picked suggestions, as well as alerts for new episodes of your favorite shows.
The Caavo Control Center is a quarter of the price of the original Caavo at just $100, but there is a slight catch: You’ll also need to pay for a $2 per month service plan in order to use the device. The Control Center is available now at Best Buy and via the Caavo website.