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August 01, 2007

Bug Labs - BACnet for the consumer electronics world?

In the HVAC industry, there has long been a quest to make building automation systems from different manufacturers interoperable from a single user interface.  BACnet and LONworks are two such attempts.  I am wondering if Bug Labs seems to be about this for consumer electronics.  Since Fred Wilson is involved, I would assume that one of their first products will be something to free an audio stream from a DRM-protected device, allowing that stream to be connected to whatever you want it to be connected to, and a widget to control it from the web.

What I am wondering is how they are different from a company called Control4, which builds consumer electronic devices and home automation products on open source platforms.  Control4 is a nifty idea, using open source for its platform, but is also a very closed system, everything needs to be perfectly setup and configured for it to work properly.  Any disturbance of the config, and ooof, you have work to do.  Consumer electronic devices are supposed to work all the time with a limited UI.  It will be interesting to see what Bug Labs actually produces.  It's certainly a very exciting concept.  Imagine if you could connect the HDMI output of your cable box to a recorder, and get what you see on the screen captured without loss of quality, bypassing all the DRM locks built into the distribution system, and going back to "taping off the radio".  Here's wishing them well climbing that mountain.

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