I picked up a Toshiba HD-A30 HD-DVD player yesterday since Best Buy was selling them for $249.
I've had the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player since pretty much launch day, and it's served well. Owning the PS3, though, has shown me that the Xbox has a really significant weakness w/rt audio quality. The new high definition formats really offer audio that's quite superior to DVD. Because the audio tracks are lossless, the difference is like the difference between MP3s and high-definition audio discs like SACD. That, combined with the excessive noise of the 360, made me want to get a stand-alone HD-DVD player.
Unfortunately, as it came shipped, it had tremendous difficulty. I started trying out Transformers, which would play for a couple minutes and then start glitching really badly. I tried 300 and Matrix, and had worse problems: the discs wouldn't even start playing! I finally found something that would play (Planet Earth). Since I had the 360 HD-DVD drive, I knew all these discs were good and playable, and their surfaces were pristine.
After a bunch of searching, I saw repeated recommendations to make a very specific setting change: in the Picture menu, change "Picture Mode" to "Film". Strange as it sounds, that has so far solved all my playback problems, though I do intend to watch at least the first 10 minutes of all the HD-DVDs I own to verify that none of them seem to have any playback issues.
P.S. As of firmware 1.3, the 1080p/60 picture on this player (as well as the A3 and A35) still looks awful. I spent the extra $50 in the hopes that it will eventually be fixed and 1080p/60 will eventually be watchable. In the meantime, the 1080i picture is of outstanding quality; I've heard the 1080p/24 picture is excellent, but my television doesn't support it.