Do you care about DVD upconversion? If not, then picture quality will be essentially identical on blu-ray and you can shop purely based upon features and price.
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Since DVD scaling is important, a sure bet is any player with either HQV Reon or Anchor Bay VRS. The Panasonic models have done well on the Scaling test done by Home Theater magazine. I suggest you take a look at their reviews: http://www.hometheatermag.com/discplayers/.
Damn... As I own an Oppo BDP-83SE (899$ new) and having it attain class A status in sterophile magazine, I would love to recommend it's brother the BDP-83 (499$ new) (basically the same thing but without the fancy DACs, which you won't need cause your yamaha is doing the decoding..)
However, it does not easily play lossless file formats off of USB sticks, and sadly, it does not play netflix or pandora... It doesn't really play well with the internet... I must admit that I do wish it could play netflix..