Work of art? Nope – this is Caavo’s $400 set-top box

In some ways, there has never been a better time to watch TV: streaming media players are nearly as plentiful as the streaming services available on them, and great content is everywhere. Even so, it’s not uncommon to need more than one streaming box to access all your favorites, and that can be problematic. That’s exactly the problem that Caavo, unveiled yesterday at Recode’s Code Media event, is attempting to solve.

The company’s streaming media player, also named Caavo, aims to unify all of your viewing options via a single interface with one remote, and this integration extends to your streaming media players, game consoles, and your cable box. The 16-inch wide box features eight HDMI inputs, an Ethernet port, two USB ports, and a 3.5mm jack meant to be used for an IR extension cable. This might sound like a glorified HDMI switcher, but the Caavo aims for much more.

Once everything is plugged in, the Caavo autodetects all of your devices. Even better, once you’ve signed into your various accounts, the device pulls everything together in one easily searchable place. Using the voice-enabled remote, you just search for whatever you want to watch, and the device handles it automatically, all without you having to worry about switching inputs.

“Living room entertainment is disjointed, and even within our own homes each of us watches TV differently. It took embracing all of it, in any combination, to make it work together seamlessly,” Caavo co-founder and CEO Andrew Einaudi said in a statement. “This isn’t the future of TV, it’s the way it was always meant to be.”

The company was founded in 2015 by Einaudi, Ashish Aggarwal, Vinod Gopinath, and the late Blake Krikorian. The founders had come from companies like Sling Media, Harman, and others, so if anyone is going to try to tackle this problem — one that companies with much bigger budgets, like Apple, have yet to crack — it seems like Caavo does conceivably have the chops pull it off.

Instead of switching inputs on your TV or receiver, the Caavo takes a different approach, processing every signal coming into the box, and switching between the signals. The HDMI inputs on the box support 4K, but don’t yet support any HDR format. HDR10 could be added later via a software update, but as Dolby Vision requires dedicated hardware, this would require a hardware revision.

The Caavo will sell for $400, and the initial release will consist of a batch of 5,000 units launching later this year. Whether or not the device will in fact work as seamlessly as advertised remains to be seen, but if it does, watching TV could get a lot easier. For more info on the Caavo, see the company’s website.

Updated on 02-15-2017 by Kris Wouk: Edited to add a link to the Caavo website.

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