The release date of the player is just as widely speculated upon as the price. However, reports cite the manufacturer’s plans of fulfilling the entire 2 million unit order by the end of 2008 point to a release likely within a year’s time.
The players are supposedly being ordered en-masse from China. It seems that Wal-Mart expects interest in the new formats to pick up dramatically very soon. It wasn't that long ago that Toshiba brought an HD DVD unit for under $400 to the market, so clearly manufacturing costs are coming down enough to make this possible.