My first DVD player was an Apex, back when it was a big deal to reflash it with region-free/no macrovision firmware (circa 2000?). At some point I ran into issues with this player when MPEG2 bitrates went over some threshold (5 Mbps?) -- the player just didn't have the horsepower to handle that data rate.
Eventually that player died and I went through a series of inexpensive Chinese players. Some failed outright after six months, but those that didn't die would often choke on some discs, freezing in the middle of playback or stuttering every 15 minutes.
I finally gave up and spent nearly $100 on a name-brand player and all those problems went away....until I got into Bluray players!
I bought two nearly identical Panasonic Blu-Ray players, hoping that a big name and higher price bought me better equipment, but these players have also been flaky, although not as bad as the Chinese DVD players, requiring full power cycling (pulling the plug) from time to time.
Usually the content (seems most common with HBO discs) freezes and won't continue, like it has a tracking error. Sometimes you can chapter skip and it will continue playing, but usually I pull the plug. Some software updates have helped, but it still happens too often. A Sony purchased in the last six months doesn't do this.
Anyway, the moral of the story is test your discs in better players. I kept home-burned CD-Rs in my car for years and was terribly abusive to them (left on the seat, jammed 3 into one slot in the visor holder, etc) without ever having problems except for the most obviously scratched discs. Other than some very early Kodak CD-Rs I burned in the late 90s optical media, whether factory or burned hasn't been an issue as much as the player hardware has.