Why exactly is it a bad thing that newer firmwares report higher error rates on your burns? Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re just using the Lite-On to check write quality and then go on to watch/use the discs in a standalone player? If the newer firmwares are more ‘picky’ about detecting errors on your burns, then once you establish a baseline (i.e. I’m averaging around x PI and y PIF with media type z), I would think that you can actually better compare burns.
For example, if you stick with the firmware that gives you PI 10 max with RICOHJPNR01, there’s really no where to ‘go’ if you ever tried something like Taiyo Yuden (which I will assume would give at least a marginally better burn than Ricoh R01). Conversely, if you have spikes up to 300-500 PI, then even an improvement of 10% would be very visible in absolute terms (30-50 max PI reduction compared to 1 max PI reduction).
I know we all like to see pretty KProbe scans, but it seems this way would be more useful to you as a diagnostic tool.
Anyway, just my two cents.