See Vizio, Focal & Caavo Tech
Perhaps this story will be a bit of a mirror of my experience from CE Week, some short takes on the interesting stories and technologies I uncovered there. Nothing was particularly earth-shattering…but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t many interesting items. So I encourage you to read on…
See more interesting tech found at CE Week…
So here now, in no particular order, are some of the interesting booths, products, and technologies I found at CE Week in the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan last month.
Vizio showed a dramatically upgraded user interface now being pushed out to their TV sets via a network update. It’s all about value and user choice Vizio says, noting that this new user interface is accomplished via a firmware update that applies to all Vizio sets made back to 2016.
Users now have voice control added via Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The company is also adding Apple compatibility vie HomeKit. With Apple AirPlay, users will be able to, for example, mirror their phone on their TV.
This summer, Vizio will be adding Search by Alexa, another labor saving feature. With voice search, users will find it incredibly easy to let the interface do the work to find what they’re looking for…all they have to do is ask.
The company says this is a “content forward” design, because when you turn your set on, that’s what you’re looking for…content. Included is specially curated content put together by the Vizio “content team.” Of particular interest is the “Watch Free” screen which pulls together 100 channels of free streaming content.
To my eye, the screens look graphically rich, with menus that allow the user to drill down to the level of detail they desire. An impressive effort by Vizio to upgrade the user experience at no additional charge to today’s customers – or those back to 2016
Learn more about Vizio and its products by visiting: www.vizio.com.
Another fairly strong brand that showed this year was Focal. Focal has been at some of the past CE Week events, but it was good to see them at this year’s version with a nice selection of in-wall LCRs, as well as box speakers. Unfortunately, they stayed pretty busy while I was there and so I didn’t get a chance to to speak with anyone to get the details on their new models, but I wanted to note their attendance anyway.
I have to say that the media seemed quite interested in Focal, as their booth stayed fairly busy throughout the day of the event I attended. Perhaps this suggests that CE Week should invite more of this type of high-end manufacturer to the event.
Learn all about Focal and their extensive line of products at: www.focal.com.
Caavo was there with their Control Center product that they call today’s answer to the Universal Remote Control. A combination hardware/software solution, I have to admit, Caavo [pronounced kah’ voh] had a pretty compelling demonstration.
The company has said that a simplified setup helps the consumer to get started out of the box. You start by hooking all of your devices: say, a PlayStation, cable or satellite box, a Chromecast or whatever to the Caavo Control Center box. Once that’s accomplished, throw all of those remotes in a drawer and use the Control Center remote to control everything.
Their box has a sleek design that is easy to tuck away by or behind your TV, with four HDMI connections for your devices, an Ethernet connection for your network (works with wireless networks as well), a USB port, and an HDMI output to your TV. Once connected, the system scans your devices to identify them and set the system up for them.
I have to say, the user interface, like Vizio’s, was quite impressive. Their remote looks cheap and is not particularly impressive, design-wise. But what is impressive, is that the system can be voice controlled (both Amazon Alexa and Google Home) to great effect. In fact, I saw a demonstration of a voice search for the movie Chernoybl that was smooth and effortless…if a little slow.
When all of your devices are plugged in, you can see what devices you have on the Control Center’s home screen. These are easy to see and easy to access, using just the one remote control from Caavo.
A second screen shows all available apps and services you have on your system. Selecting them is a point and click operation.
The service comes with a very nice user interface that makes it easy to find just what movie or show you are attempting to locate. And remember, it also is voice enabled which makes navigating menus even easier.
There is a subscription element to fully realize all of the features of the system, although the rates seem fairly affordable. According to Evelyn Krasnow, Caavo Chief Marketing Officer, the subscription rate is $4/month, $40/year, or a one-time $150 for lifetime service. The Control Center hardware sells for $60 MSRP.
See more on the Caavo Control Center at: caavo.com.