Home Theater Media Devices

Caavo Changes the Game with New $100 Control Center and Universal Remote

Caavo Changes the Game with New $100 Control Center and Universal Remote
The Caavo Control Center promises to be the universal remote solution many households are still looking for. With support for 4K, HDR, and Atmos, this new device checks most of the boxes for even the most ardent home theater buffs.

Caavo Changes the Game with New 0 Control Center and Universal RemoteCaavo, known for its beautiful but pricey universal TV control system, released earlier this year, is shipping a new product. And it’s completely affordable. At just under $100, the new Caavo Control Center will integrate all of your available content across numerous services and up to four devices. A simple remote control and on-screen navigation aim to unify your TV experience. Whether it’s streaming services, your cable service, or a game console, Caavo can probably control it. And more importantly, it knows which device hosts what content and on what service.

Caavo Changes the Game with New 0 Control Center and Universal Remote
Caavo remote

How, you ask? Caavo uses machine reading to recognize and learn how to navigate your services. It relies on a combination of IR and HDMI-CEC to control four devices connected by HDMI. But it’s not just a remote-controlled switcher. Caavo wraps the whole TV experience with its own front end, letting you find and navigate content or, as a fallback, control your individual devices. You tell it what services you have and what devices they’re on, and it figures out the rest. Oh, and did we mention this all works with voice search, too?

Now you may be thinking, “why would I want a switch box? I already have an A/V Receiver.” And that’s fine. This will just “front-end” that receiver for the devices that you want to control. The output from the Caavo box will then plug into one AVR input.

There are limits to this magic. Caavo may not be able to see or deep link to recorded shows on your DVR. And it can’t (yet?) deep link to content in services you watch on your game console. Accessing those features may require manual (i.e., traditional device) navigation, but you can still use the Caavo remote for that. Caavo has a complete list of supported devices, services and features on its web site. You’ll also need to subscribe to their service plan for about $20 annually to make all this work.

One of the big points against Caavo’s first-generation offering, aside from price, was that it didn’t support HDR. The Caavo Control Center supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It also handles (i.e., passes through) Dolby Atmos, but only up to 8 channels, for some reason.

We’ll be testing this product in the coming weeks, and we’re interested to see how it passes the household acceptance test. Controlling different devices and content sources remains complicated. More expensive solutions, like Logitech’s Harmony remotes, certainly help, but there’s definitely room for improvement. We’ll see if Caavo’s cracked this code. At $100, the Control Center it substantially cheaper than many universal remote controls. You can [amazon_link id=”B07GVSFKFK” target=”_blank” ]order one for yourself now[/amazon_link]—they’re shipping now [affiliate link].

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About the author

Richard Gunther

Richard Gunther

Richard is a product experience consultant with a life-long interest in consumer electronics. He has been immersed in smart home tech for decades now and hosts The DMZ's home automation podcast, Home: On and co-hosts Entertainment 2.0 with Josh Pollard. Richard looks at products through an experience lens, always seeking the right mix of utility and delight.