Caavo calls itself an ‘entertainment-obsessed hardware and software company’, and has introduced the Control Center, an entertainment hub and universal, voice-controlled remote that promises to unite everything connected to your TV. The Control Center will search, discover and manage content across live TV, DVR, streaming services and web content, all in one place.
Earlier this year, Caavo promoted an 8 x HDMI source device enabling a user to access them all using the one remote and menu system, but it retailed for $400 which is substantial when you compare it to the more friendly pricing of rivals Harmony. The new device comes in at $100, has only four HDMI inputs (ostensibly because most mortals don’t tend to have 8 HDMI sources), and performs most of the same functions as the former. Perhaps more importantly, the new Control Center can support HDR video and Dolby Vision, conspicuously absent on the earlier iteration.
With Control Center, viewers can get bogged down with so many inputs, remotes and apps that the biggest screen in the house is ‘often dark,’ according to the company. Input latency is down to 30ms, clearly intended to excite gamers, and on this new version users can create their own playlists for movies and TV shows.
“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,” said Andrew Einaudi, CEO and co-founder of Caavo Inc. “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.”
Control Center allows for connection of up to four devices and a TV, plus a soundbar or A/V Receiver. The unit will detect devices and walk you through set-up. You can pair with Google Voice or Amazon Alexa to tell Control Center to power on, search, mute, play content, and other remote-control functions. If you’ve lost your remote you can push the metal button on top of the Control Center or ask Google or Alexa to find it for you.
Once Control Center becomes the entertainment hub in your home, it automatically switches between live TV, streaming media, DVR, gaming, and YouTube across devices including: Apple TV, Chromecast, DirecTV, DVD/Blu-ray, DISH, Fire TV, Nintendo, Nvidia Shield TV, PlayStation, Roku, Spectrum, TiVo, Xbox One, XFINITY and others.
It uses a combination of IR, Bluetooth, IP, HDMI CEC and machine vision to control your home entertainment. Using voice and cloud intelligence, Control Center finds the most relevant content, displays availability across apps, and will play it. The unit also supports Dolby Atmos.
Issuing commands like “Watch The Big Lebowski” using the voice-activated remote, Control Center will turn on the TV and take you there, while negating the need for sifting through multiple device menus and apps with moving content lists. Of course only one remote is needed in this scenario, but if someone grabs another device remote (e.g. a game controller), Control Center will recognize it and respond by switching inputs to the corresponding source.
Control Center’s search apparently does not favor any service or platform, so it should be easy to find what you’re looking for without the clutter of content that may not be relevant to your search intent. Users can reliably search for content by title, network, director, actor, editorial, tastemaker or theme.
Additionally, by going to the “Watch” menu, users can find featured editorial guides, alerts for new episodes of shows, and hand-picked suggestions to discover something you may not have previously considered.
An app for iOS is available in the App Store and an Android version is promised soon. Control Center is available for $99.95 and requires a monthly service plan of $1.99 per month. Control Center will be available at Best Buy, BestBuy.com and Caavo.com beginning October 1. For more information visit www.caavo.com.