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As long as the cables are properly connected you shouldn't lose quality in the sound. If its the front speaker cables you want to extend then contact sony and ask them for the rear cables which you can then substitue for the front ones which are considerably shorter.
Like above, use an optical connection (need fiber optic cable) or a coaxial connection (single RCA cable). HDMI might also work, but I personally haven't checked. Connect the audio outs from the cable box to the audio ins on the home theater. The TV will only need a video connection from the cable box, as well as one from the home theater (for DVDs, onscreen menus).
Sounds like a dirty or failed laser or DVD mechanism /drive.
Try a DVD/CD lens cleaner (must say both). If you can, try wet & dry version with alcohol based cleaner - Alsop are a good brand.
If this doesn't work, the drive has likely failed. Its unlikely to be economical to repair - but you could always connect a cheap DVD player to the Sony system - the sony system can then continue to provide surround sound audio, whilst the cheap DVD player plays the discs!
Otherwise - sell the system as separate parts (speakers, remote, cables, DVD player) as someone is bound to be desparate for the speaker set on its own to complete a system and will often pay more!