Philips 963 SA -transport

I'm a budget audiophile considering a mod'ed Philips 963 SA. The BIG question is, how good is the transport? In other words,I don't want to spend the $$ on a player that will break down in a few yrs. Any Audiogoners out there who have experience w. this player? (I'm considering this player for 2 channel audio only & for its ability as a universal player. I'm esp eager to try SACD) Thanks & good listening.
I bought the lower budget model 763SA with the same thought in mind; try out SACD with little risk. I used the player as a transport for redbook cds and the internal dac for SACD. SACDs were too limited so I only tried a few. While the transport was fine with SACD, it very noisy (whirring sounds)when playing redbook cds. The noise was noticeable from the listening position until music started so I scrapped the idea. The player is now being used as a dvd player by my daughter at school.
Needless to say my trial with SACD was short lived. Maybe I should've bought a better player to experiment with SACD but with limited titles I don't really regret it. Good luck.
Currently I use one connected to a dac via digital cable for sound and to the tv via video cable. Here are my issues. Sound wise it is excellent, although I think the dac is responsible for this. Video is excellent. I only have one SACD in my collection one so I am unable to make a comment. I haven't compared it to any other as a transport. One quirk I don't like is that it automatically defaults to upsampling and I have to disable that via the remote on every disc. I am unable to play DVD's without disconnecting the dac and using the analog audio outs to my amp. I researched this unit a lot last year prior to purchasing and noticed many reliability issues. I have had none.
I've had a 963 for about two years now. A couple of issues to keep in mind. It's not a universal player (doesn't do dvd-a). If used as a tranport only, you won't be able to listen to sacd (uless, like me, you run a digital out to a dac for redbook and movies and use the analog outs for sacd). I've had no reliability problems except that the philips runs fairly warm, hot even. In my open rack, there's just a couple of inches between the top of the philips and the shelf above it. Apparently this is not enough, because if I leave the player on all the time, it has difficulties reading dvds (though never cds). I now turn it off when not in use and since have never had a problem with it reading any disk. BTW, I really like the sound on sacd playback; unfortunately, I have a total of 5 sacds. Hope this helps.
I don't know of a better value available. You should be well pleased for the money you'll be spending.
Good listening.
It's one of the best transports that I have modded, and it costs a lot less to mod. It sounds as good without a Superclock as other player WITH a Superclock inside. Not the most reliable one though. You can get a lemon...