Mr. Mojo, if the unit is at the point of you throwing it away anyways, I would recommend one last ditch effort to "repair" it:
Take the top off and gain access to the laser. Being careful not to dispense any propellant liquid, blast the laser assembly, at close range, with several shots of compressed air. In addition to clearing away any dust accumulation on the lens surface, this will also jog/exercise the laser in its up/down coil assembly [which can be dangerous on its own with this sort of explosive force, so that's why I'm only advising this as a last ditch effort for a unit heading to the garbage dump anyways].
Still no luck playing discs? Step two is to apply a very, very small drop of WD-40 to the laser copper coil wire next to the laser to help lubricate its up/down travel track (focus distance). Don't get any on the lens surface, obviously, and use a toothpick dipped into a puddle of WD-40 you've made on your work bench (on waxed paper or, say, a dish/bowl) as your dispensing mechanism.
Let us know if it helps.
[Note: this sort of "repair" may only give you a temporary fix for half a year, if lucky, but it is virtually free and couldn't hurt if the unit is being disposed of anyways]
In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".