Home control giant Crestron announced a new initiative that could dramatically simplify the act of automating a home theater. Crestron Connected, as it's called, embeds a lightweight version of the company's Fusion RV software directly inside of networked components like Blu-ray Disc players, TVs, and A/V receivers. The code doesn't require any additional silicon and is given away royalty-free to manufacturers. Once implemented, you'll be able to plug the Crestron Connected device into your home network and begin monitoring, controlling, and managing it from any web-enabled computer, smartphone, or tablet from anywhere in the world. What's being announced, however, isn't new: the company already embeds its wares inside of hundreds of shipping projectors from more than a dozen manufacturers, all using TI's DLP chip. What's new is Crestron's plan to take what's largely been a commercial endeavor into the untapped residential market. That's where things start to get really interesting.

We've heard separately that Crestron Connected is just a part of a larger initiative known internally as "Project Cayman." It's a "game changer," according to our source, and will bring Crestron's influence into the home for less than $500 and without professional installation by the end of the summer. We don't have all the details yet, but Cayman will likely produce a small, dedicated appliance for the home network that will manage low-bandwidth devices like switches, thermostats, and sensors over 802.15 (ZigBee), and high-bandwidth devices like home theater gear over Wi-Fi and Ethernet. If this sounds like a dream scenario, then you'd be right — assuming Crestron can line up enough manufacturing partners.