These things are toys, they're supposed to make you happy. If you don't enjoy it, just return it. But before you do that, check contrast and brightness settings on your TV, the defaults for contrast and brightness and sharpness are usually way too high (sharpness should be 0 btw). TotS has a screen that can be used to calibrate your display. In the menu screen 7669 will bring up a few test screens. On the first one, play with brightness until the lower right bar looks same shade of black and then bring it up a little so a small part is visible (at least that is my preferred mode).
In the 3rd screen, you can play with contrast until you get as many distinct shades of gray as possible.
Ice Age II has a lot of 'wow' factor. Haunted mansion has too (but has some problems in a couple of dark area scenes). If you're in the right age group, Tony Bennet's special has a chapter with Diana Krall that should be very shiny (although the streisand chapter was terrible). The Wild started with a few minutes of bad video (deliberate) that turned out to be 'flashback' mode. The actual movie after that is very clean.
(Btw, which HD-DVD titles gave you the wow-factor? After PotO and Serenity, there's actually very few that are consistently good, and quite a few that seem to be worse than PotO.)