This summer my dad's DVD player started doing the freeze up and don't play dance. My first thought was that the previous Blockbuster renters had been using the DVDs as coasters for mugs of frothy drinks.
So we do the clean the disc trick -- over and over. Then try different discs, including some that were recently purchased.
All of that fails so we head out around town and dig up a DVD/CD lens cleaner disc -- these have 6 tiny little tufts of thread distributed around the middle -- and they solve the DVD player's problem for about 4 minutes.
So my dad simply replaces the fritzy bugger and everything's fine.
Just this week our DVD player starts showing the same symptoms. Not having learned my lesson I spend $10 on one of the lens cleaners, it works for the requisite 4 minutes, then I go buy a new DVD player.
Apparently, this is the standard solution.
Given that the new DVD player only cost $36, is more compact and has better features than my old DVD player -- my recommendation when your DVD player starts stuttering: skip the waste $10 on a cleaning disc step and go straight for the new player.