I never leave a DirecTV remote in a head-end room for that reason. Still, twice we've had to reprogram a whole head-end because some person decided they'd change one of the channels and found a remote on their own. Typically, you don't start having problems until about the 10 year mark, when you'll have modulators start to die. That happens much sooner if the head-end room isn't kept cool; my contract specifies that additional cooling is usually needed and is not our responsibility. The vast majority of our head-end service calls are either changing a channel or adding additional channels to the system. They *are* pretty reliable.