I think I have changed my mind from initially not buying it from what I have read about this issue to now probably buying it. Am I disappointed that it is not quite as good as I was expecting (or hoping)...yeah a little, but do I partially understand it I do now that I have read blu-ray.com's review of it. Here's an excerpt:
"Most of the alarmist postings have dealt with the quite noticeable banding that is especially prevalent in the series' opening few episodes, but I wonder how many of the folks virtually screaming and yelling about the issue bothered to look in the accompanying "commentary" booklet, where it's quite unabashedly mentioned in a conversation between Ueda and Saito, specifically with regard to the first episode, which has been one of the prime examples that disappointed fans have been disparaging rather vociferously since receiving their sets. The bottom line is this: the banding has always been an issue with Serial Experiments Lain. Should it have been dealt with more aggressively here? Probably. The one thing that very few people are seeming to realize is the reason the banding is so much more evident in this new transfer is that this is quite noticeably brighter than either the Japanese set or the previous DVDs."
So could it be better? Yeah, but it is apparently better than the DVDs, in nice packaging, and I liked the series a lot so I'll buy it. It also really doesn't have much to do with BD-50 and BD-25s, but the source material and what was done with it, because a BD=50 can contain 3.5 hrs and maintain a decently high bitrate no problem. The Japanese version has better video quality sure, but it also cost roughly $315 at release, 6 times as much. It's also now out of print so you'd have to pay more to get it, so Ill take Funi's version.
*And I probably should mention that I am in the videophile category myself.