I've got some initial reactions from the player. This is my first HD DVD player. I have HD cable and when it was first installed, understood the hype about HD. However, hooking this player up and popping in an HD movie was less awe inspiring. I've got a Denon up-converting unit for that 'near HD experience'. Now, I have not calibrated the player, and I've only watched The Italian Job on HD DVD, so take this with a huge grain of salt... or a bag of salt, your choice.
Overall impression of HD DVD... so-so. Definitely a better picture. Much better? not really.
Upconverting - not so hot. My Denon does a way better job. Threw in Spongebob for my daughter and noticed lots of artifacts. Also, it's in standard screen format and I could not get it all stretched out to fit my screen. Swapped back and forth between the Denon and was much more impressed with the Denon's picture (full screen) and PQ.
Next, I threw in Basic. Everything was very dark, and the sound was anorexic.
So, I'll probably do some calibration which should clear up the darkness, but not sure about the screen-width dilema or artifacting when up-converting. The sound was clear, but just lacked punch and I had to crank the AVR up another 12dB or so to equal the Denon. I'll play a bit more for the rest of the week, but so far I'm not totally impressed with HD DVD. It may go back to the store by the weekend.