Thanks for the info so far.
I agree that for the most part there is not benefit to turning protection off, but there are a couple cases. My main concern was/is that if this should be
a changeable option with my drive then the fact that I can't change it signals a problem somewhere. As I say, SMART-BURN can be enabled and disabled. But Buffer Underrun Protection shows up (both where Action Jackson refers to, as well as in the final burn dialog), the box is there. Its just that it is pre-checked (enabled) and greyed out so I can't change it. I have another Liteon based drives, a Sony CRX195, and there is no issue turning protection on and off with it. As a result I would question the idea that this is a "liteon thing".
If anyone else has the tdk I would be curious as to a confirmation that they too can't alter buffer under run protection.
EDIT: OK, I just read through Ian's review of this drive here. In his review he shows the following image:
This confirms what I am seeing. So I guess it is normal. I've just never run in to a case where protection was present but couldn't be toggled on and off.