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If your alternate DVD player has digital audio out you can make this connection via the 'optical digital in' port on the rear of the unit which corresponds to the Video 2 function. I have done this myself because the inbuilt DVD function in the Sony unit is dead (fixed once under warranty, problem recurred about a year later, same issue as other unsolved posts on this board, DVD function hangs, system won't switch off, etc. common problem with this unit, crap product).
I have a similar problem. After a seemingly random length of time, the counter on the display freezes and I cannot pause, stop or eject the DVD. I can change volume, change function, etc but nothing useful. The only way I can get the disc out it to turn the whole thing off and then back on. Sometimes even this doesn't work first time...
I went to a Sony shop and they said I could have it looked at, but they charge £45 just to have a look! Not sure it's worth it as I only paid a little over £200 for it.
your home theatre system is from the year 2003.
Maybe a cleaning the optical can solve the problem. There are cleaning CD kits on the market, but better option is if a pro does it (the cleaning) for you.
If you need more assistance please advice.