I only have experience with Pioneer, LG, and Plextor... You can take Plextor out of the mix since they don't make their own drives any more. LG rarely releases firmware; instead they put out a new drive. Pioneer has updated the firmware on my DVR-212D twice in the couple of months I had it (since April-ish).
I would never buy a LITE-ON unless I needed a drive to do quality scans, just my opinion. Take it or leave it. I don't even want to debate it. Samsung uses the MediaTek chip too (i.e. LITE-ON)... Read sever problems about them and a lead-in bug they have not fixed in their firmware revisions... But never owned one.