Silicon Valley start-up Caavo has entered the ring in the battle to control HDMI 1, introducing a new retail set-top designed to unify all TV devices into a single input.
The Caavo Control Center, which retails at Best Buy for $100, plugs into the TV’s primary input, and connects up to four devices—pay TV set-tops and streaming boxes like Roku and Apple TV—along with a sound bar or AV receiver.
It can be voice controlled using Google Voice or Amazon Alexa.
Caavo bills the system as an entertainment hub, automatically switching from live linear TV, streaming content, DVR programming, and gaming devices. Compatible devices include streaming media players such as Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV; gaming consoles including Nintendo, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox One; and pay TV set tops from Comcast, Charter, Dish Network and DirecTV.
The 4K-enabled Control Center uses a combination of infrared (IR), Bluetooth, IP and HDMI CEC, and auto detects what devices are connected to the TV during set-top.
Once activated, users can simply say, “Watch The Big Lebowski,” and iterations of the 1998 Jeff Bridges comedy classic from across platforms surface on one unified UX.
In addition to the $100 price of the device, users will need to pay a monthly subscription price of $1.99.
“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, a former Microsoft engineer who is the CEO and co-founder of Caavo Inc, in a statement. “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.”
Founded in 2015, San Francisco-based Caavo has been privately funded with $32.5 million, according to its Crunchbase profile.
The start-up is attempting to solve a problem the pay TV industry is well aware of—that is, the need for operators and device makers to make their set-top the device connect to the TV’s primary input, HDMI 1, and have all platforms unified under their UX.