The Caavo Control Center is a $100 universal remote for cord cutters
One box to rule all the boxes.
Ever had one of those nights where you had to switch the controller in your hand several times just to get to the show you wanted to watch? Even on a casual day, I find myself switching between my TV remote and Xbox One controller (opens in new tab). Maybe you have a Fire TV (opens in new tab), too, with a Sideclick (opens in new tab) to help you out? Maybe... just maybe... you don't need all those things.
The Caavo Control Center (opens in new tab) wants to unite all your streaming devices, consoles, and set-top boxes like the Amazon Fire TV Recast (opens in new tab) and give you easy access to all of them. The Control Center is essentially a tiny black box that sits in your home entertainment system and acts as the director for all the other tiny black boxes you own. You'll be able to connect up to four of them plus a sound bar. It will support advanced video and audio formats like 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos as well, so you don't have to sacrifice quality.
Since the box has to communicate with the TV to detect things like HDR or even adjust simple functions like volume, Caavo has to make it compatible with a lot of them. Right now, the Control Center works with the following brands: LG, Panasonic, Phillips, RCA, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and Vizio. Of course you can still eliminate some of the clutter in your living room even if you still need to keep a remote around for an unsupported TV.
As far as the other devices that the box supports go, Caavo has a huge list of them on its website. These include everything from Xbox to Roku to iTunes. You can even add voice control using an Amazon Alexa device, like the currently discounted $30 Echo Dot (opens in new tab), Google Assistant (opens in new tab), or Siri. While awkwardly enough you'll still need the remotes for device-specific commands, you can use the voice assistants to turn the Control Center on and off, search for shows, and plenty of other features.
Caavo isn't the only one out there searching for universal control. The Logitech Harmony (opens in new tab) lineup includes tons of options if you're looking to unite your home entertainment system, and some of them can be found at a cheaper price than the Control Center because they use functionality you already have (like your smartphone) to unite your devices.
The Caavo Control Center starts at $99.95. You can find it on Amazon (opens in new tab) and Best Buy (opens in new tab), but probably the best place to buy it for the fastest shipping right now is the Caavo website. You'll also have to subscribe to the Control Center Service Plan for $1.99 a month if you want extra features like universal search (showing you absolutely everywhere the shows you want to watch are available for streaming), voice control, editorial guides, app control, and more.
See on Amazon (opens in new tab)
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J.D. Levite has been in the deals game since 2012. He has posted daily deals at Gizmodo, The Wirecutter, The Sweethome, and now covers deals for Android Central, iMore, and Windows Central. He was there for the first Prime Day and has braved the full force of Black Friday. If you cut him, he bleeds savings. But don't try it for real. That's a metaphor.
I still don't know what this does.
I think I remember reading when it came out that its differentiator compared to Logitech Harmony was in the universal search tools. It's a software layer on top of being just a universal remote. I've generally seen mixed reviews of whether those tools are actually good, but the idea is that you don't have to remember that you want Netflix on the Xbox for one show and then Amazon on the Roku for another show. You would just to be able to say which show you want and it would remember that it is on Netflix and that you prefer the Xbox for Netflix and go from there to handle turning it on for you. I love the idea, but it sounds like the execution is somewhat flawed so I'm not quite willing to pay up for it yet.