New 1394 specifications and old ones waived…

Several interesting news concerning 1394 that I missed last week.  First we have the 1394 Trade Association releasing new specifications for set top boxes and tools to test compliance.  Then we have the FCC allowing companies to make it an optional requirement.  The timing of the two announcements doesn’t make sense to me.  1394 compliance is still required if you request it but that is not very convenient to the end-user and will undoubtedly make it more difficult to actually get a compliant device.

If you haven’t given up on 1394 yet I don’t see it getting any better.  The IP Interface is promising but only if it comes with an IP Based Interoperability standard.


1394 Trade Association Releases New and Revised Specifications on Blu-Ray, Set top Box Functionality
San Francisco, Calif., June 21, 2010 – The 1394 Trade Association today issued a trio of new specifications focused on video compression, audio and music transmission, and set top box functionality.
The Trade Association’s USA Set Top Box Test Specification Revision 1.0 defines a set of tests to verify the functionality of the 1394 interface as defined in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for a functional 1394 interface in the STB. The standard defines a set of tests that when executed will verify a USA Set Top Box has correctly implemented all the required functionality….


FCC waives 1394 requirement in lieu of an IP interface By Ben Drawbaugh
On Thursday July 1st it’ll have been five years since the FCC mandate went into affect requiring all cable set-top boxes to have a 1394 port. Well, anyone who’s ever tried to obtain and use said port knows it is neither convenient or terribly useful. The problem is that even when the port is functional, most of the content is locked down with DRM. Third party 1394 based DVRs have never been any good, and companies like Microsoft and TiVo aren’t interested in supporting the interface. We can’t say we blame them, in fact 1394 is on its way out and even Apple doesn’t support it on the iOS line of products anymore and while 1394 used to be the de facto standard for digital camcorders, most new ones don’t use ’em. So it isn’t a shocker in the least bit that the FCC has granted a waiver on the mandate and now while operators are still required to make boxes with functional 1394 ports available to those who request it, the rest of the boxes can just support an IP interface instead….