Problems Reading Commercial DVD's



I have an NEC ND-3500AG that seems to be overly sensitive to surface imperfections when playing movies. Any minor scratch or blemish in the media causes the player to hang. I try to inspect the surface when I rent a movie, but what looks OK to my eye doesn’t look good to the player. Cleaning the surface helps when the problem is fingerprints and smudges, but scratches are a different story. Burning DVD’s and CD-R/CR-RW is no problem.

The drive is running firmware v2.19. It’s installed in a Shuttle SN95 with an AMD 3500+, Win XP Pro SP2, 1 GB of RAM. My DVD player app is WinDVD 6.

Anybody having similar problems with this drive?

Its almost to the point where I’m afraid to rent movies for fear that they won’t play.

Anybody have any suggestions? Almost ready to switch to a Plextor PX-716A but I don’t know if that’s worth the money or if it will solve my problem.