Caavo, 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.
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].