I'm no fan of Sony and really wish that HD DVD had wiped the floor with Blu-ray, but I'll offer this warning/suggestion when it comes to buying a Blu-ray player that is anything other than a Playstation 3: be careful.
While I didn't want to hand money directly to Sony, when I was researching potential Blu-ray players I quickly learned that the *most upgradeable* and *most future-proofed* Blu-ray players are the Playstation 3 systems.
If you buy from Panasonic, Samsung, etc., you are potentially buying a player that won't come with a network port built-in which means that you won't be able to upgrade that player to Profile 2.0
If you don't know the differences between the various profiles and don't understand what you miss by not having Profile 2.0 versus Profile 1.1 (which added features to Profile 1.0) then you'll probably be unhappy later when you find out that your non-Sony player can't connect to the web to get web-enabled updates, can't show picture-in-picture commentary and extra information, etc.
HD DVD had their feature set right to begin with. Thanks to Sony, and their friends that created Blu-ray, being rushed and behind somewhat in development their features trailed the hardware that was originally released and early adopters got systems that lack anything but the ability to play the basic movie on a disc.
Basically what I'm saying is that if you don't wish to buy a player that isn't going to be somewhat obsolete, don't buy a non-PS3 until after the other hardware manufacturers get their Profile 2.0 players to market, and even then you may want to wait until you be assured that such players can go beyond that spec up to any later specifications that may come along.