To get started with HDM a Toshiba A-2 or A-3 makes an interesting choice as these output 1080i and 720p. They can also be found under $300! If you can wait a bit the upcoming Samsung 5000 sounds like a nice unit and it is a dual format player.
As you can see from my signature I don't have a HDM player yet and from what I am seeing I think both formats are going to be with us for a long time. I see the future as dual format/universal players and the Samsung 5000 looks like the first player that will be able to both both formats properly. Maybe wait a month or so and see how the first hand reports and reviews of the Sammie 5000 play out and go from there.
I would rather have one dual format player than dedicated HD-DVD and Blu-ray players to save space in my A/V cabinet. It is already full with an older Hi-Fi VHS, CD player, 3 head Denon cassette deck etc. In an ideal world I would find a really nice dual format/universal player that could outperform my higher end CD player.
Recent Wii owner. Enjoying HD up in the "Great White North"