I've tweaked my system a bit to improve performance enough where I feel I can make a qualified comment about the picture quality.
IMHO it is impressive, when you consider the relatively low bit rate. However, compared to the better & best HD transfers I've seen to date, on HBO-HD, HD-Net and OTA (Sundays' "A Time To Kill", for example) it lacks the finest detail and 3D-quality that really makes you jump up and take notice. It has an ever-so-slightly soft quality that keeps it from assuming WOW status. The lack of detail in flesh and skin tones is particularly noticeable. Details such as skin lines, pores, etc just aren't there like I've seen with higher bit rate HD material. I was viewing at a resolution of 1776x1000i. Maybe MS can get away with this on 15-21" PC monitors (I also checked it on a 17" LCD, where the limitation were not as glaring) but blown up to 55" on my Mits HDTV, the drawbacks seemed obvious to me.
Taken as a purely technical exercise T2 WMP HD is pretty cool, and shows some promise. Maybe if/when WMV gets support for HW acceleration they can up the bit rate a bit and bring back some of the fine detail, without the need for such a super high-end PCs.
From a consumer POV however, the exercise of just trying to get the disc to play was a disaster. The Interactual player must die, die, die, with "extreme prejudice", please. No one likes it, no one wants it, it is a cancer on the whole experiment. In fact, I venture to guess if I could use another player other than WMP9 with its' bloatware filters like the video/color controls (which suck up even more needed CPU power), performance would improve even more....it certainly did with every other WMV-HD clip I tried.
Oh and BTW....the audio sucks. I found the volume to be too low, dynamics were flat, and overall quality mediocre. This is on an M-Audio DeltaDio connected to a Yamaha RX-V1 via SP/DIF so I only get DPL. Again, maybe in a dorm room on a PC sound system its passable, but in a true home theater environment where DD and DTSare well established, it couldn't hold up. Just pony up for the license and add a DD 5.1 track, please! Sheesh, just buy Dolby Labs for Christs' sake!
User friendliness, broader compatibility with existing PCs and audio systems in the end will go a long way toward consumer acceptance. Just my 2 cents.