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Review: Caavo Control Center

We live in a world of expanding devices in the living room. The tv, cable box, smart devices (AppleTV, Roku, etc.), video games, and other gadgets that all vie for the viewing time on our central screen. Each of these devices comes with it’s own remote control, and they grow into an out of control pile to search through whenever seeking to begin viewing. That’s where Caavo control center comes in, to alleviate the burden of so many remote controls.

Caavo itself is not a universal remote, but a remote and an HDMI hub to control the devices with. Setting up is as easy as plugging all the different HDMI cables into the back of the Caavo hub and plugging it in. From there, onscreen guidance walks the user through the entire setup. For my IR based television and cable box, I found the onboard IR was not strong enough to control them, but the Caavo came with a pair of IR transmitters that can plug in and sit in front of the IR receivers to improve reception.

The Caavo remote is thin, sleek, and has a limited number of buttons to simplify its usage. The shiny remote has all the requisite buttons except the numbers, allowing ease of use for most devices. With a slight learning curve, the actions from the remote can quickly be learned, even when the buttons correspond to different actions – some of which do not correspond to the pictures on the buttons – as an example, the home button brings up the dvr menu on the cable box. For any buttons that aren’t on the remote, there is a 9 dot button that brings up an onscreen menu to access more virtual buttons.

My personal test with the Caavo included my television, cable box, AppleTV, Playstation4, and Nintendo Switch. The Caavo was able to control the tv, cable box, and AppleTV without a problem, and could even activate individual apps like Netflix and Hulu upon request and switch to the AppleTV automatically. When turning on either of the game devices, the Caavo seamlessly recognized that I had turned on the game and switched to that input so I didn’t even have to switch manually.

The Caavo remote has a built-in voice command that makes opening apps or watching particular shows easy. By holding down the button and saying the app name or the name of a television show you want to watch, it will find the show or app and switch to it. Unfortunately, this voice control is Caavo specific and doesn’t work in tandem with AppleTV’s voice commands.

The Caavo also works with other smart devices, like voice assistants and smart phones. The iPhone app has a virtual remote and gives direct access to the apps and devices that are connected to the control center. With the Amazon Alexa, I found myself able to turn everything on and off and give basic commands to control what I was watching. All of which are useful when needing to control the television and can’t reach the remote at the moment.

For my the only problem with Caavo was with learned behaviors. I realized how set in my ways I was in how I used my remotes – like using the number buttons on the cable remote and the Apple remote’s voice commands – and found I needed to unlearn those behaviors and use the Caavo remote in different ways. The other fault I found was controlling the volume from the Caavo control center. When switching from tv to a video game, I need to lower the volume, but the Caavo sent independent blips to lower the volume one number at a time, while the native remote was able to send a stream that allowed the volume to change much faster.

The Caavo control center is the a great alternative to the glut of remotes we all collect. While it may be impossible to remove all the remotes, Caavo is a great way to slim down that remote control collection, and a device I would even give my parents to simplify their television usage.

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