What's this all about?  It's about archiving HD material onto DVD, making if fit, and not loosing image quality.  This page tracks some of my experiences in getting an encoding solution operational.  To find out what's really involved, check out this great AVSforum thread by jsaliga:
***The Comprehensive Windows Media 9 HDTV Encoding Guide***

A comparison of an portion of a 1920 x 1080p image.  One half is the original mpeg-2 image from an HD-Net D-VHS tape, decoded and deinterlaced by Elecard 2.1 decoder.  The other half is the same image (within a few frames) that has been re-encoded using WM9 Quality VBR encoding, at Quality 90, again at 1920x1080p.  Deinterlacing by WM9 encoder.

Warning: These are all big files, as I have saved them as bitmaps so that there is no doubt that differences may be due to jpeg compression. Even with a broadband connection, you will have to wait a bit for these to download.
Detail from the jacket and fence above, 200% enlargement.

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Home > Gallery > WM9 to MPEG-2 Comparison
Comparison of Details at 200% (400KB)
Comparison of Details at 200% (400KB)
Actual Size Comparison (2MB)
Actual Size Comparison (2MB)
All Images  (8.6MB)
All Images  (8.6MB)
Both of the above files, plus the original images, uncompressed.
What do I think?  I think you'd have a hard time telling them apart if they were not side by side.  Differences to me are less than the differences between a good DVD transfer and a Superbit version.  Considering the data rate for the WM9 Encoded video is only about 30-40% of the MPEG-2 original.
WM9 HD Encoding