It's actually a Pioneer DVD-500M. I flashed my TEAC with the Pioneer firmware, as a region free hack wasn't available then.
Anyway, this drive is fine with DVDs, but not DVD-Rs ! I got a horrible noise, like the drive was struggling to read them. I used quality (Panasonic, Mitsubishi) DVD-Rs that played back fine on my Lite-On dvd-rom. Switched back to the TEAC firmware, but it was the same.
I did a search at rpc1.org, and found that others had problems with this drive too (with respect to DVD-Rs).