What people are telling you is the same thing, Blu-Ray Drive going, and laser packing up are generally the same answer.
Putting it better would be to say the laser on the drive has malfunctioned.
However it might be dirty, you can buy a Blu ray drive cleaner which is PS3 compatible.
Have you tried the Hidden System Restore? Some people have had results with this method.
Beggars are operating on this train, please do NOT encourage professional beggars, if you have any spare change you can give it to me.
I have the same problem and have tried restoring default settings and updating to the latest version available and the problem persists. Although the problem may be on and off for some people it doesn't seem to want to cure itself even for a short while. The only "SOLUTION" that the forums seem to give is to send it to be replaced or repaired by Sony and mine has passed its warranty stage so that is no use to me. My PS3 has been well loved (and certainly not overused, I've hardly got my moneys worth out of it for it to pack up now ) and is in excellent working order other than it doesn't read discs or even seem to know that they have been inserted.
As for Playstation wanting IOI-Gaz to pay £99 for a repair, that's disgusting - you could pick up an x box 360 for close to that, which i assume is an answer many people will be turning to if no one can come up with the solution or PS3 do not provide a patch or a repair service. It's not like the problem is from abuse of the hardware we are just playing a game as normal and then it freezes and you can never play a game or disc again.