As for your points:
Another identical cable: I don't have two cables
Another iPod: worked other 1.x
Protected/uprotected: they were unprotected podcasts
Users with the same problem: didn't look for them. Assume my cable is "weird"
The cable ceased to work on the nigth the device was updated. Worked the night before. It would be incredibly weird if the cable broke by itself while hooked up to the TV the same time the iPod was updated, wouldn't it?
And while I didn't mention any hardware that is not part of my rather extensive collection of interesting Computers (not limited to Apples, of course), there is a rather new Macbook at home and a couple Macs at the office. Why would you suppose my newest Mac is a museum item?