Got my first player in 98 after dealing with laser disks for quite a few years which were great and no copy protection but HUGE and only held about a half hour or a bit more per side. My first one was a Sharp that couldn't even play CD's so I took it back and got a Pioneer 525 that could play CD's because it had a dual pickup to do both which was rare and new back then. It did nothing else but play movies and music, no MP3 support or much of anything else. It did have however have one of the most natural looking pictures I've ever seen on a basic DVD player, normal film grain and all, never any digital artifacts so it's scaler or whatever was excellent. I then got a Apex AD 600 because it had the "secret" menu that could turn off all copy protection and it could play MP3's and pictures and like that. Unfortunately the video quality sucked but it did everything available back then and they went for serious money on eBay for those in the know and too stupid to just buy one for retail at Circuit City. I wish I still had the original Pioneer but now I have a Denon that plays DVD, DVD audio, and SACD, plus had a excellent scaler so the video is nice and clean again.
Of course then HD DVD came out, and Blu Ray so I found deals on both types of players but that is the next tech that came along and at least they were smart enough to make both formats support DVD and CD playback as well, too bad they had to have another format war for one side to loose to go with it so now I have a HD DVD player that will never get any new movies.
My first generation Panasonic BD 10a still plays any Blue Ray disk I put in it but now takes forever to load, it also will never support Cinivia copy protection and just ignores it.