My experience over the past 2 years is having to fix approximately 60 Sonys, yet only one Philips. Today, the one with the Philips is the only one I recommend with no caveats. Another company makes a pretty well regarded player here, the cheaper one uses the Sony, the more expensive one, the Philips. Guess which one I'd buy?
But, you're right, Philips doesn't support them. My advice to the guy who brought me the aforementioned 5 year old player with the Philips transport, I can't get the part, so if you can't locate anyone else who is willing and able to help, trash can it.
I have an especially low opinion of stuff made in China these days from having to deal with it first hand. I also have had players with Sony transports that were as good as people in this thread have testified to. However, like a lot of companies, they've moved production to China. Things seemed to have stabilized somewhat about a year ago when we switched over to a different Sony factory there in Sanya, but the previous year was an utter disaster. During that time I once got a case of 10 Sony transports in to fix a few units that had come in for repair. Fully 10 of the 10 were defective. 10 out of bloody 10!!! I didn't think a company could do that if they tried.