Many years ago, in a moment of candid honesty, Nilay Patel described how his childhood was somehow defined and irrevocably ruined by an attempt to set up and use an IR blaster. It might also have had something to do with being a Packers fan? I can’t remember clearly, it was so long ago. The important takeaway was that IR blasters are in some way disastrous and evil.
It’s 2018. Nilay is now my boss, and seems relatively chill for someone who struggled so mightily with a glorified TV remote in his past.
And so it was with great interest last month that I read Nilay’s review of Caavo: the IR blaster to end all IR blasters. It uses machine vision! It has eight HDMI inputs! It’s an absurd amount of engineering and workarounds to make a fractured home entertainment system operate as a seamless whole.
See, as far as I ever understood it, Nilay’s lifelong grudge against IR blasters was never about IR. It was the fact that a dumb IR blaster can lose its place when switching sources and changing channels, and therefore its carefully programmed commands become nonsense. But the $399 Caavo solves that problem by actually watching the TV, reading the interface, and basically engineering the hell out of the problem.
In a victory lap, Nilay brought his Caavo review unit to Circuit Breaker Live last week. Watch it with me, and celebrate how far Nilay has come! How far technology has come. We used the voice remote. We switched between a multitude of streaming boxes. We only freaked out a little when it seemed broken. We had a good time.
And if you want to watch the whole episode, here it is: