That sounds like several questions in one. If you're asking strictly about a good DVD burner, the only ones in my opinion that are too much trouble for what they're worth would be the Sony and Liteon line. We can narrow choices down a bit by what you want to do. If you want to do full burn quality testing to see if your DVD burn was good, then the Plextor px-716a and BenQ1620 come to mind. From strictly the price standpoint, the BenQ1620 seems the best choice, as you can test the burns with free software (Nero CDSpeed), but both drives have sometimes had quality problems also, in terms of having to return them multiple times in some cases to get good working units. However, if you get a good one that lasts, you'll likely love your purchase. Some recommend buying a drive from a computer store with a good return/exchange policy as opposed to online.
Using quality media is always the best option. Good choices would be Verbatim 8x DVD+R (MCC 003 mid), Fuji 8x DVD+R 50 pk, Made in JAPAN (sold at Best Buy, mid yuden000t0200), DVD-R Made in JAPAN (mid TYG02), Taiyo Yuden OEM (available at online retailers like rima.com and supermediastore.com). Check out the respective forums (BenQ/Phillips, Plextor, etc.) and take you time to look at burn scans on different media to get a better idea of what media burns well on each burner.
The most important thing is not to rush into a decision. Take your time and you decide. :iagree: Don't feel like you have to buy a certain burner b/c someone tells you so; do it b/c you are convinced it's the best choice for you. :bigsmile: