A lot of people have recommended some good "budget" $50-$90 dollar DVD players, but most of them lack optical audio out and the component video output quality is a bit lacking. So i guess i'd be looking at more of a mid-end model. I'm thinking that probably starts around $120-$130.
If were to upgrade from what I currently have it would be strictly for better +RW compatibility, as I have no issues with +R. Before I ditch an otherwise perfectly good player, I thought I'd try some free or low cost options. It could very well be a media compatibility problem as rdgrimes suggested. What I would really like to try is some Verbatim DVD+RW 4x, but I can't find any locally, and have yet to find a 5-pack at at a reasonable price (with shipping) online. For now, burning my RICOHJPNW11 4x at 2.4x has helped. It just takes longer!