I had to buy an HDMI cable in the store. To put this in my rack I need a 35' HDMI cable so I'll have to shop around, just using a 6' AR (Acoustic Research) for now.
I played scenes from several films (King Kong, LotR: Fellowship EE, Animatrix and The Phantom of the Opera).
Before I get into image details please note that I am no pro at this and no videophile by any means. There is a slight improvement with upscaling to 720p, if I were to put a number on it, Id say about 15% over 480p, not a huge leap but enough to notice. My wife walked in during the scene when Kong was being captured and she said right off, "the image looks sharper". That comment even surprised me.
I used the same settings I had for my component connection and right off I noticed a slightly sharper image, mostly close up shots, distance shots really didn't benefit much. The colors were a bit more vibrant and blacks were deeper with more detail. The improvement in blacks caught me off guard as I was not expecting that.
It hung up a bit trying to load the Animatrix disk, took about a minute or longer to get that one to load, the other 3 were up in 15-20 seconds. It had no issues at all playing the disks, FF, RW skipping chapters, no navitation issues at all.
The fan is a bit noisy. More so then my Z3, it is noticeable but I had it sitting right behind my head on a box on the couch, once up on a shelf or in the A/V rack I doubt it will be noticeable. I'd say it was around 25db. It sounded close to what my old Panny PTL-200u PJ was like.
The machines menu set-up is very easy to use and navigate, set-up took only a few minutes. The remote on the other hand, a pain to use. Small buttons with very hard to see descriptions. Not a very user friendly remote at all.