Downgrade your BIOS
You were right in your original assumption, your problem is the result of the BETA 0208 BIOS.
I have the A2K notebook, which I think is the canadian market equivalent of yours, and I had an identical problem.
I spent a few frustrating days pulling my hair out trying to puzzle it out: first I though it was video drivers, then I thought it was sound, then I thought it was a heat problem (debunked that theory by sticking the notebook in my fridge for an hour before using it)
I finally trace the problem to video overlays. If you use windows media player, you can quickly check if this is indeed the source of your problem. Just go into windows media player options - on wmp 10 its options-performance-advanced - and turn off video overlays.
The problem with this is that not all video players have the option of turning video overlays off, and no games have an option like that either (games use video overlays as well, so they would be causing similar crashes)
The culprit to this problem is the 208 BIOS. For some (insert expletive) reason, the new version of the BIOS does NOT support video overlays. Which begs the question, why release a BIOS with less functionality then the first.
I downgraded to the 207 BIOS and have had no problems.
You will have to flash the BIOS from DOS using AFLASH2 and a bootable floppy. If you have no floppy drive on your laptop, then you will have to use a bootable CD. Windows doesn't let you make bootable CDs. I downloaded a bootable CD iso from http://www.bootdisk.com/
The iso files are: http://www.bootdisk.com/florida/flashcd.zip
The instructions are: http://www.bootdisk.com/txtfiles/flashcd.txt
Instead of integrating AFLASH2 and the older BIOS version onto the the boot CD, I made two CDs. The first was the boot CD, and the second had AFLASH2 and the older BIOS files. I still had to switch to R:\ to access the files on the 2nd CD though