Seeing as I just received a marvelous 46-inch Sony flat-screen LCD TV (w/HD) for my 30th birthday (yes, in true movie geek fashion, I chose to celebrate this monumental event with a new TV instead of a party), I feel like I can finally start entertaining the idea of purchasing an HD-DVD player. Like most of you out there, I am more inclined to wait until a) prices go down and/or b) HD-DVD and Blu-ray either merge or fight to the death. With everything so divided right now, I refuse to cough up six beans for a player that might be obsolete in a year or two. Ah, but there is good news on the horizon ...

According to Film Junk, there's a rumor going around in certain "we know way more about this than you" circles that claims Wal-Mart has just made a deal with a Chinese electronics manufacturer for two million HD-DVD players at $50 a pop. That means the ginormous retail outfit would be able to turn around and sell those HD-DVD players for $299 USD or less, making it the most affordable player on the market by at least $100, so says Film Junk. Only problem is, we have no idea which format this player is in. Since the original source was in Chinese, the translation has been a bit sketchy. Seeing as -- and this is a direct quote from Film Junk -- "Wal-Mart is supposedly responsible for 40% of all regular DVD sales," choosing a side (be it HD-DVD or Blu-ray) on a deal like this could potentially destroy the other party. It's important to note that nothing has been made official, but, for those out there who watch the majority of their programming in HD (myself included), seeing any kind of light at the end of that long, dark tunnel is (hopefully) a sign of good things to come.

For those that currently own an HD-DVD player, what kind of advice can you give to us folks who want desperately to join the party, but are afraid of wasting a little too much of their hard-earned cash?

[via Movie Blog]