FirstLook: Caavo Control Center

FirstLook: Caavo Control Center

 
  • Company: Caavo
  • Model: Control Center
  • Size: 9.6 x 6.9 x 2.2 inches
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Price: $99.95
  • Website: caavo.com
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About:

In early 2017, a company called Caavo unveiled a device aimed at uniting all your streaming devices. It took a unique approach to solve this problem. They produced an undeniably beautiful device which was also relatively expensive at $400 and lacked HDR.

Caavo is back no more than 8 months later. They took all their feedback to heart and released a follow-up in the form of "Caavo Control Center." Merging all the smarts of the original meshing it with new features like HDR at a price point that should have Harmony shaking in their boots.

Their most significant innovation is using machine vision to analyze what your devices are doing as you use your TV. It knows what you’re doing and if the commands it’s sending to your devices are working as intended.

Caavo's pitch " Control Center makes watching TV simple by uniting everything you’ve connected to your TV with one universal control. Control Center manages your entire entertainment experience: cable and satellite, streaming media players, and gaming consoles. Just connect everything to Control Center and hook it up to your TV and sound system. From there, Control Center does the rest. It automatically knows which device to use, searches all your apps, finds what you want, and plays it."

 

First Thoughts:

Packaging was put together very nicely with printed logos and folded cardboard to make things fit perfectly making unboxing a cinch. Pulling the main control center out of the box was surprisingly deceiving. It felt solid and had some weight to it. The remote on the other hand felt very light and plasticky. This was a bit disappointing but let's see how it goes. Also, the IR blasters seemed to get a downgrade and even felt a bit flimsy compared to the original.

Now I expected Caavo to trim some overhead down going from a $400 product down to just a hundred is a challenge in itself.

Caavo has gone above and beyond offering all kinds of setup videos online as well as white glove installations for those less tech savvy. We did the installation ourselves as it was not very complicated. The idea is your TV and Audio receiver goes to one HDMI port, and the other 4 HDMI ports go to your devices. In our case, we have 65” Sony Bravia, Onkyo receiver, AppleTV 4, Nvidia Shield, PlayStation 4 and a Nintendo Switch.

Caavo holds your hand through the setup process for the most part. Right off the bat Caavo control center found all of our devices. You do of course need them all on during this setup process.

 

Features & Specs:

  • Connect 4 devices: Cable or satellite, streaming media players, and game consoles
  • One Search: See relevant results across live TV, apps, subscriptions, and YouTube
  • One Place: All your content in one place so it’s easy to find
  • One Control: Includes universal voice-activated remote control
  • Discover Something Great: Suggestions from editors, tastemakers and Caavo community
  • Google Home Support
  • Alexa Support
  • Sound system Support
  • 4K Support
  • UHD Support
  • HDR Support
  • Dolby Atmos Support

What’s included:

  • Caavo Control Center
  • Remote control
  • IR Blaster
  • Power Supply
 
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Final Thoughts: (after a week of use)

Well, it’s been a week, and I must say the Caavo is super stable. I have yet to find any bugginess switching between devices. However, I can not say that about my Harmony setup. With that said, I don’t feel I have taken advantage of deep integration. I cut the cord a long time ago, and the services on the devices I prefer just are not supported.

Caavo has learned from their previous realize and listened to their customers. However, it still feels like a first release. I would have thought the added time would equate to deeper integration across the board. Caavo's secret sauce is injected into every platform in the form of an application. It enables more control and adds that deep integration we hear so much about. With so many devices and services out there to date, I wonder if they are taking on more than they chew. Having a developer for each platform and service can rack up money and resources quickly.

On top of that, Caavo is trying to roll out a service to help you manage what shows to watch. This personal for me is a flop. They should have just thrown this in for a year while they build it out. It’s not worth it as a service just yet. With so much on their plate, they should partner with someone like Trakt.tv and focus those resources on integrations and improvements.

I felt the remote could use some more tender loving care. It was a considerable feat getting down the price to $100 bucks. I wouldn't of minded if they put more into the remote itself. First impressions are huge with any product. For a remote, its made in hand. I wanted Caavo to feel more refined in my hand, but It just falls short on this. Maybe bring back the woodgrain just for the remote.

Yes, it does its job, but other companies do a lot more. Some like rechargeable batteries you would think would be a given. I guess it’s not needed a whole lot since there are no displays or light up buttons built into this remote.

 
  • With all of this said, Do I like the product? Yes

    • It’s a great first release and does the job of combining all your devices into one remote, and for me, they did it without and IR blasting.

  • Will I push my $300 harmony setup to the draw? Its still a tuff call it seems less buggy, so I’m leaning towards Yes.

    • Lack of custom buttons and the feel in hand keeps me thinking. I will be leave my Harmony in the draw at this point. However, I haven't said I would sell or get rid of it just yet.

  • Is the service worth the money? *I don’t feel the service is ready for prime time so I would say no.

    • If However, we have seen Caavo is listening and $20 a year could go a long way in helping it evolve. So I would say think of it as an investment.

  • Would I recommend this product to other people? *Again another subjective question.

    • The person would have to meet a checklist, what services are they using on what devices and so forth. I would hold off a bit unless they meet the checklist. I see it as a great Christmas present, and I plan to keep an eye on its progression.

 

Disappointments: (small nit-picking)

  • Remote Control: I understand Caavo trying to cut the price down. I would have gladly paid say an extra $50 for a remote that was more polished and felt better in the hand. A few extra buttons and a charger would go along the way as well
  • Caavo service: As I mentioned earlier in the article I still feel the Caavo’s service is a great idea. However, it’s just not ready for prime time. They should of offered if for free and called it beta.
 

Have you picked up the Caavo Control Center or are planning to pick one up? Let us know down below in the comment what you thought. What are your favorite features? Is there anything your missing on the Caavo?

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