Option 1 failed because of an uncomfortable backend.
Option 2 limited my options for file and category naming not allowing special chars
Option 3 was PhocaDownload - it does almost everything I wanted it to do, and even if I had to mess a bit in the code to get the rest done I am still convinced that this is the best way to go in terms of download plugins.
Also the forum is busy with tips, tricks, hints and at the time of my last visit the creator had made over 10.000 posts in the support forum. Speaks for itself, doesn't it?