ESR has always worked pretty well for me. I have a SCPH-70001 slim ps2 in the NTSC region, and I have ESR backups of Smackdown vs Raw 2006, Shadow of the Colossus and Metal Slug Anthology.
I just recently switched tv's that I use for my ps2, and while it is not exactly new (a few years old), its newer than the bulky television I used to have. The new tv is a samsung 42" plasma. It is an NTSC.
I know ESR is working correctly on my ps2 as I have been able to play the backup of Smackdown vs Raw 2006 on the old tv, and I set up the memory card to use on a friend's ps2 by using my ps2.
The first game I tried on the new tv was Shadow of the Colossus and I initially thought it was a bad burn, but it worked flawlessly using the same disc and memory card on my friend's ps2. With this in mind, I tried the smackdown disc and found it didn't work. Neither does a recent backup of metal slug anthology.
The problem is, I try to play the games, the ESR beta 9b screen comes up, and then it goes black and stays black. My friend's ps2 in comparison, flashes colors on the sides with a black screen and then loads the game.
Since both my ps2 and tv are NTSC, are there any other options that need to be considered/changed in order for the games to work? Such as an option on the tv or ps2? Does aspect ratio have any effect here?
EDIT: I also have that piece of tape inside the ps2 holding the switch down, I can't remember what it does but it is still there. I removed the tape that holds down the thingy that stops the disc when the tray is open though.