Did you ever find a budget player? If so, what did you pick up? Just to let you know, in addition to Craigslist, make a point to stop in to your local thrift stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and pawn shops. Good gear makes its way to all of these places and I was in the same boat a few months ago, looking for a DVD player or nice CD player. There is a Salvation Army store down the street from my office so I swung by on my way home. To my surprise there was a Denon DVD-1600 player sitting on its side on a shelf. As I moved it I could tell a disc was floating around in it. I plugged it in, it powered on, and the drawer worked. It was priced at $9.99 and being a Tuesday it was another 20% off for I walked out with for like $8. Got it home, opened it up to get the disc out, and it has been working perfectly ever since.