I have one Aopen DVD1648/AAP Pro myself, and have ordered a few for other friends. Each time I do I notice they are getting harder and next to impossible to find, at least in the US. Newegg stopped having that drive in stock ages ago. These are definitely great drives, compared to other good dvd readers.
Which ones? Ones like the Toshiba SD-M1712, 1612, 15xx, and even a 28x cdrom, etc. Back in its' days, the Toshibas could rip safedisc protected games like no other (e.g. Plextor), and was pretty fast @ripping dvd movies too (Bladerunner @+15x). Nowadays they've collaborated with Samsung, and I hear the newer drives such as the SD-M1812 (and beyond) aren't all that great of performers.
Today I tried calling Aopen's US office, but the marketing person wasn't in. I'll try again tomorrow.
On newegg.com, there doesn't seem to be much of a selection of dvd readers anymore. Lite-On, LG, Toshiba, Samsung, Asus, and Sony are all that seem to be available. In the past I remember reading about well performing Asus DVD units.
I have the same question: Once the supply of Apen DVD1648/AAP Pro dvd readers dry up, what other comparable dvd readers are there?