Woo! Knife thread!
Until you get to the point of needing specialty knives, I recommend buying good quality cutlery and purchasing an 8" chef's knife, an 8-10" serrated bread knife (more on that later) and a pairing knife in the 3-4.5" range. If you plan on breaking down chickens or fish, or deboning any kinds of roasts, add a cheap boning knife from the grocery store.
The bread knife (mine has an offset handle) can take the place of a carving knife for things like pork roast or boneless turkey breast, and they're great for tomatoes.
80-90% of your work will probably be done with the chef's knife, with the rest split between the pairing and serrated knife. Don't skimp on quality! The "Seen On TV" knives are more like saws than knives; they work with an abrasive edge to grind between the food you're cutting, and they are impossible to sharpen. If you want to go cheap, buy the TV junk and throw them out every 3 months or so and get a new set.
I'd also plan on spending between $50 and $150 per knife. It sounds expensive, but a properly cared for knife should last a good 50 years with average home use, or 10-20 if you're a home chef type. If you don't cook multiple times a day (or just about every night for dinner)m plan on getting the knives professionally sharpened every 8-12 months. NEVER put fine cutlery in the dishwasher, or cut with a granite, cement, or glass cutting board; the steel used in the blades is intentionally soft to hold an edge better and those materials will destroy the edge, making it necessary to grind off more material when sharpening and reduce the lifespan of the knife.
All that said, I've got to go with KM: the Shunk knives are the best and most comfortable I've ever used. I can't stand their angled handle designs, though; the Damascus patterned blades are a dream to use and they look beautiful.
One more word on sharpening: don't do it yourself, especially with the Shun knives; they have a Japanese style blade, so the angles on home sharpeners are totally wrong and they'll ruin the knife. Add to that the horrible quality of home sharpeners, and they're just not worth it. If you really want to sharpen your own, take a look at the Edge Pro Apex system. It's pricey, but it's the most reliable sharpening system I've found outside of a professional sharpening shop. If you go that route, plan on buying a few cheapo store brand knives to ruin while you practice with it.