As you asked for other experiences, I can tell you that my DV-88P has NEVER given me any problems at all in 2 years of use - picture or otherwise.
Perhaps the PAL/NTSC or even the DVD region setting is wrong?? Sounds like it would be worth contacting the distributor or Arcam themselves to ask.
Though I really like this player, mine is for sale because I have 3 other disc players 'in-stock' right now, including an Audiomeca Mephisto II.X, so something's gotta go ... if I ever get around to posting the ad.
In any case, I believe that a DV-88 is a smashing bargain at the price these players sell for used - a truly excellent dual-purpose DVD/CD player.