So I went ahead and did it. I purchased the Toshiba HD DVD player today. It was a measured decision- I know HD and Blu ray are still fighting it out for format supremacy, but for $299, its an investment I decided to make. Pretty much everything I've read (and boy have I read alot over the past 6 months) seems to feel that no clear cut winner will emerge for the next year or two. If I can get the most out of this player for 2 years, then that'll suit me. This player makes standard DVD's look INCREDIBLE. I popped in Malick's "The New World" and Michael Mann's "Miami Vice". This is the way movies were intended to be watched. You can see when someone blushes or the color goes out of their face. You can pick up little signs on bus stops, read street signs and differentiate the color patterns in clothes. My eyes were continually darting around the edges of the screen trying to decipher images that I hadn't noticed before. Amazing. And like I said, that's just for standard DVD's. Upconvert is ok, but even if this format loses out, it still crispens my old DVDs like never before.
I did purchase 1 HD-DVD movie, "Goodfellas". My old copy is one of the first generation DVD's and it was time to upgrade. Holy shit.... this is a Scorsese film like you've never seen, full of deep blacks and shadows that cascade around the characters faces. Honestly, HD opens up the world beyond the characters on screen, fulfilling the setting around them with vivid clarity. I'm not trying to talk anyone into a rash decision (like I may have done), but HD quality is the way to go. Do the research for yourself and if $299 is affordable, then I recommend it.
Stay tuned for HD DVD reviews and thoughts.