I say try the Pioneer DV-353k or the Toshiba SD-2800, both of which can be found online for about $120 or so.
Either player should be a great "workhorse" player, but I recommend the Pioneer over the Toshiba mainly due to past experience with the Pioneer.
I've given the Toshiba SD-2800 to a friend as a gift and it's worked out well for her, thus far. I've also given 3 Pioneer DV-333s and one Pioneer DV-440 as gifts as well as a Toshiba SD-1600 (refurb) which lasted only ONE year. I replaced that with a NEW Toshiba SD-2715 that has worked great ever since.
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