As expected, Blu-ray prices have increased since the end of the format war with HD DVD. Without opposition, Sony has succesfully driven high definition content out of reach for a lot of people. Their players are, on average, 2-4 times more expesive than the HD DVD equivalent. The cheapest HD DVD player you could purchase (before the format war was over) was around $100, and that was for a third generation player. On the other hand, the cheapest Blu-ray player on the market was closer to $300. Now, however, the same blu-ray player costs $400…that’s a $100 increase since the end of the format war, which was about a month ago. At these prices, Sony is making it quite impossible to purchase a standalone player since the PS3 is also in that price range and features a built in Blu-ray disc player. There have also been about 3 good game releases on the platform, so you could get in on that as well.
It boggles the mind why Blu-ray players are so expensive, when they are unable to connect to the internet at all. That feature is on the horizon for the players, but all versions of the players so far will never be able to access online content for movies or receive firmware updates, which could possibly mean the inability to watch future Blu-ray movies. One would assume Sony would distribute firmware updates through the mail on a Blu-ray disc to remedy this issue. Even with this being the case, Blu-ray prices continue to rise.
It is also popular belief that the upconversion on the Blu-ray player does not match that of the HD DVD format. This has also been tested by professionals and determined to be true. This being the case, you can easily grab an HD DVD player for under $100 and enjoy a great upconverting DVD player for the same price (or even less in a lot of cases) as a good upconverting standard DVD player. Hopefully Blu-ray improves this in the next generation of players, as I have an extensive standard DVD collection and would enjoy a good upconversion for all of them.
Considering all of this, now is the absolute worst time to purchase a Blu-ray standalone player. The costs are soaring, and they will be obsolete by the time the next generation Blu-ray player is released. If you really need a Blu-ray player, buy a PS3. This way you spend about the same amount, plus one would imagine that you will be unaffected by the looming upgrades since the PS3 has online capabilities. I make it a point, however, to never assume anything with regards to Sony. I am continually let down by their utter lack of interest in what is best for the consumer.