fistfullast33l writes "The FCC rendered a decision today against a Comcast appeal that centers on integrated security features in set-top cable boxes. The decision comes at the end of a long standing feud between the FCC and cable companies over the matter. The result is that starting July 1st, cable boxes distributed by cable companies must not be tied directly to a cable provider via internal security features. This rule is viewed as the first step in creating a market for set-top cable boxes. Comcast does have the right to appeal and has said they will do so. From the article: 'Several major consumer electronics manufacturers have argued that if set-top boxes weren't directly linked to the provision of cable service, they could enter the set-top market. Consumers could get a cable card from their service provider that they could insert into a set-top box purchased at a consumer electronics store. The cards would ensure that consumers could only access channels that they paid for.'"