ok, some initial impressions after two relatively short nights of viewing (dang work).
Fantastic picture. Best blacks I've seen, wonderful in picture contrast. The iris seems to work pretty well; I have it on high speed and I haven't "seen" it working yet, which has been my big problem with irises before. Colors are pretty spot on, plenty of that fabled pop.
I'm still playing with all the picture modes. Theater black 1 seems to be the best for movie viewing. I haven't gotten a chance to do much with Dynamic, Living Room, or Natural outside of some blu ray and TV watching but quick impressions was that I preferred Theater Black 1 for blu ray and Natural for TV. I have to do much more experimenting to find what I like from each mode. So far I've just run in Art's settings, so I've got some tweaking to do.
FI: Watching some HDTV with it and was impressed with the difference it can make in the picture (Fringe really did look like it was shot with a handheld digital) but ultimately didn't like the look of it. Didn't notice any artifacts there. Watched some of the bowl game last night and didn't see much change/improvement; again noticed no artifacts. Had it on while watching blu ray tonight and didn't notice the same changes in the picture as I did with Fringe, a little more depth/3D at times but not all the time. I did not, however, notice any artifacts. I watched the sections of Casino Royale that have been discussed before and I just didn't notice any problems. Is it subtle? Everything I've read so far would seem to indicate it would be an obvious problem I'd pick up on.
FI on video games was impressive. Increased fluidity and impressive increase in depth/3D. I think I like it here. For movies and TV I could take it or leave it at this point. I've had it on "normal" and haven't messed around with high yet.
Noise: it's audible. I haven't heard the iris working, which I did hear on the 1080UB. When the lamp is put into low it gets much quieter. I don't know much more to add here, it all comes down to your ears. I've had a jet engine Infocus 7210 for the past year and, after getting used to it, never noticed it while watching.
So, overall? I'm super pleased. The picture is just what I was hoping for and I haven't done much tweaking yet. Ultimately that's all I care about. I'll play with the FI but it seems like a minor issue to me. Maybe I'll notice more problems with more viewing.
edit: forgot to add, the HDMI handshake delay is very long and annoying. Hopefully this is something that could be addressed with a mythical FI firmware update in the future.