I agree with both cableric and your post... There are definitely cards that are deemed "bad" which are just misconfigured in the backend systems. It seems like it's much easier to just try another card, and hope it's setup correctly, rather than figure out the misconfiguration (and learn something, so they can prevent it in the first place). But, the card isn't completely passive. It needs to run a fair bit of software that can have its own set of bugs. In this case, it definitely sounds more like a problem with the card (or it's interaction with the S3 software), rather than a misconfiguration. But, I don't think the tivo "sets the card to the failure status" I'm guessing the card thinks something is going wrong, and sets itself into that state, until it gets reset. I don't know if there's any way the tivo could detect the issue.