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The problem is in the laser pickup assembly, over time the laser becomes weak until it can no longer read the disc, but you can buy a DVD cleaning kit that might breath more life into the player, if no! cheaper to replace the DVD player.
remove the small screws from the sides, back and bottom. Take the top cover off by sliding to the back and tilting up slightly. You should then see the disc drawer with the disc in and some cogs to one side. You can manually wind the cogs with a small screw driver to open the drawer.
In your SETUP options, ensure that AUTO FINALIZE and FINALIZE AT END OF TIMER are turned OFF. Insert DVD to be finalized. Press SETUP button. Be patient. Once DVD has loaded the DISK FINALIZE option will be available. You can then FINALIZE. I found it cheaper to get DVD-R from Radio Shack (about $5 for 25) for VHS movies that I know I want to keep.They do record up to 6 hours, even though the packaging is unclear on this point.Picture quality is as good as the expensive DVD's.