DVD players have been disposable for years now, especially since they've been readily available for less than $60. If you want better performance, there are higher end models out there, but the build quality is certainly not going to last you for a long period.
Aside from a few higher end models, most of the attention and tank-like build quality is now going to the Blu-ray players, which can also upscale regular DVDs. With HDTVs now the norm, more and more of the market is shifting towards HD sources, and Blu-ray's part of that shift.
Wooch's Home Theater 2.0 (Pics)
Panasonic VIERA TH-C50FD18 50" 1080p
Paradigm Reference Studio 40, CC, and 20 v.2
Adire Audio Rava (EQ: Behringer Feedback Destroyer DSP1124)
Dual CS5000 (Ortofon OM30 Super)
Denon DVD-758 (DVD-1940ci)
Sony Playstation 3 (MediaLink OS X Server)
Sony ES SCD-C2000ES
Oppo Digital HM-31
Logitech Harmony 650
I've been saying that for some time. When your DVDP will no longer do movies, use it as a CD transport. Buy a really good DAC and treat players as consumables. These are not the good old days when a turntable could be a family heirloom.
Given that 90% of time when DVD player quit playing movies is because of mechanical issue, using it as a transport might also be out of question
Also, I agree with Frank Van Alstine that the DAC is responsible for the greater difference between the two. Not that I wouldn't want an EMM Labs unit. Transports are mechanical and wear out. Buy a new one!
TECH is moving so fast that when something breaks its time to get another anyway, so they go for a low price in construction.
A lot of people cant understand that these days most everything is disposable, just not worth fixing, so toss it and get a new one with more updated features
LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
Panny DVDA player
sharp Aquos BLU player
pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
Samsung SACD/DVDA player
emotiva upa-2 two channel amp