Early this year I had the following exchange with a Mr. James Snider. Executive Director of the 1394 Trade Association
On Dec 30, 2008, at 12:20 PM,
Mr. J Snider
I recently did a Google search in hopes of finding a method of activating the firewire ports on a STB I recently received from my local cable company. I came upon a very old topic on the AVS forum (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=649140 ) wherein you requested feedback from anyone that had received a STB with the firewire ports disabled.
I have just received a Motorola DCH6416 DVR that indeed has had these ports disabled, and the cable company (Insight Cable, Covington, Kentucky) has told me they will not activate them.
Do you have any information that is current on this matter? Is there a method to activate these ports?
Mr. Sniders return email:
Thank you for your email. This is unquestionably a violate of a clear FCC directive. You should let Insight Cable know that they are in violation and that you are filing a complaint with the FCC. The cable companies hate the FCC knowing about their misdeeds and they will usually fix the problem but you have to file the complaint. Cable companies are notorious for stalling in hopes that you will just give up.
Here is the FCC complaints web page http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm
Unfortunately, they changed the format of this about a year ago. You have to step through menus that do not exactly match your complaint. Get as close as you can and then just file the complaint. If you mention "CS Docket number 97-80", it will get to the right people. That narrows the focus for the FCC. Wording along these lines should work:
"I wish to file a complaint against Insight Cable of Covington, Kentucky for business practices in violation of FCC rulings covered in CS Docket 97-80. In particular, I wish to report their refusal to activate the 1394 port on my Motorola DCH6416 DVR set top box in violation of requirements specified in 47 C.F.R. 76.640(b)(4)"
Those words in the FCC filing should get you some attention. The cable guys do not like the FCC and the FCC does not like them. The FCC has the power but the cable guys do their best to fly under the FCC radar. If you send a letter to Insight Cable informing them that you just filed a complaint with the FCC, it will probably motivate them to fix your problem.
If you will let me know any docket number assigned by the FCC to your complaint and send me a copy of any correspondence you get back from Insight Cable and/or the FCC, that would be helpful. I plan on visiting them once the new commissioners are in place in early 2009.
Also, fee free to copy all the commissioners on your complaint. Some of them will leave when the new administration takes over, but some of them will stay around. Chairman Martin in particular hates the cable companies, but he will probably leave in a month or so.
You are going to have to go to the FCC web page and direct email them from the FCC web page www.fcc.gov but all their contact info in on the home page, right hand corner.
You should probably address them as "Honorable Commissioner Copps" and "Honorable Chairman Martin" etc. but it not get your email tossed out if you do not use the right protocol.
1) File a complaint with the FCC on the FCC web site
2) Tell you cable company you did so and include things like "FCC Docket 97-80" and "Section 47 C.F.R. 76.640 which requires an 'functional' 1394 port on all High Def Set Top Boxes" that lets them know that you know what you are talking about and can really get them in trouble
3) If you are still motivated to make things happen, the email your complaint to all the commissioners.
Let me know if you need any additional help...and Happy New Year!