Originally Posted by toadtaste
I guess i'm just speculating as to why a leased cable box is no longer required to have a 1394 functioning and why this is pretty much a dead thread as far as communicating issues to the FCC about it.
It was never required that all cable boxes have 1394, only that the cable company give you a cable box with it if you ask for one. That requirement is still place, it's just that many cable companies are not following it (and the FCC apparently can't be bothered to enforce it).
I guess the other question would be why the FCC would want the 1394 to be functional but then try to "remotely" disable it.
Are you referring to the broadcast flag? They wanted a way to let you record some things but not others. For cable, there has always been a way to to do this, which is the 5C copy protection mechanism. They can mark programs as "copy freely," "copy once," or "copy never." The broadcast flag was a way to extend this to broadcast TV.
Anyway i know cable companies are buying settop devices that do not have 1394, disabling it by default if it does as well as television stations requiring that the 1394 is turned off to provide service.
The cable companies don't want to provide support for any problems with 1394, and since they're not required to give it to you unless you ask for it, the default setup is to not have it or to disable it.
I believe it's true that some channels (although not actually very many) do request copy protection, but legally only pay-per-view and video-on-demand channels can be protected with "copy never," meaning that 1394 can only be completely disabled for those. The most restrictive copy protection that other channels can apply is "copy once," meaning that you could record from those channels onto, for instance, a D-VHS recorder, but you could not then make a second-generation copy from the tape.
The bottom line is that very few people are using (or trying to use) 1394, so there aren't enough people complaining to get any attention either from the cable companies or from the FCC. It's rather sad because for a lot of people it means the end of the ability to record cable TV to removable media.