I'm holding out for the new Panasonic DMP-BD35 (MSRP $299) which I'm hoping comes in even cheaper than $279.99 via online retailers. Either way prices are bound to be good on players toward the end of the year.
Sam's Club has the Sony BDP-S301 for $217. I think I remember reading that there's a firmware update for it, that will allow it to decode dtsHD MA internally, so you can send it to older receivers over the 5.1 analog outputs.
I bought my Sony 300 over a year ago for around $400.
I've been able to enjoy spectacular HD Blu Ray movies for over a year. I know a lot of people are holding out, but at what point are you denying yourself the enjoyment of this wonderful looking video? I mean, I could have waited 12 months and saved what? A whopping $100? Or $8.33 per month?
I think this depends on whether you are interested in the majority of titles available on Blu. I don't think there are a handful of films out yet that I really must have on HD - I either already have SD versions of catalogue I can watch or am not interested in most of what is coming out - so paying more for hardware that has not (until recently) been full featured didn't make any sense. Having gone through 5 DVD players since buying in, the hardware is disposable IMO, and as such I'm no longer willing to pay a lot for it.
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I've never paid under 250$ for a player (except my two HD DVD players, and they were initially a lot more than what I paid for them)--not because I'm a "price snob", but because I choose to buy what I can afford when I can afford it. Obviously, that is a "moving target" and there are other criteria to consider. As long as people are comfortable with waiting for prices to reach their particular "sweet spot", no one should feel a "need" to buy something that does not meet their cost/benefit requirements. The only time I find the "too expensive" comment to be unreasonable (and I don't consider any of those comments in this thread as such) is when people were complaining that BD players were not at 150$ or so when the format was first hitting the market. That was an unrealistic expectation and not one with which I could sympathize.