Well I'd be satisfied with any time this year. And if they are going to release it in 2011 it'll be before November so that they can get it out for Xmas.
As for the sampler disc, I'm ordering it the moment it's available. I said it before, I've never, ever been excited for a movie to come out on DVD, much less a tv show, and never mind an "updated version" to a show. This has me more excited that I can remember ever being over an upcoming product.
I can understand that. Ordinarily I'd be the guy ranting about how the sampler disc is just an attempt to double dip etc.. In this case though since it's so unusual for me to be interested in something like this, i figure why not go all the way.
Of course, if they come out with a season 2 sampler, expect me to go back into "I hate corporate greed" ranting mode.
Here's why I think they chose the episodes they did:
"Encounter at Farpoint" features a variety of effects and locations, from shots of the ship, Q effects, the holodeck, as well as the shots of different areas of the ship and the planet's surface.
"Sins of the Father" won an award for sound design, so it's a good chance to show off the new 7.1 uncompressed sound mix. In addition, it has lots of dark, smokey interiors and a ton of detailed Klingon costumes and makeup.
"The Inner Light" is also an award-winner and fan-favorite, but features a lot of outdoor scenes in bright sunlight, location shooting and also a great deal of old-age makeup for various characters, especially Picard.
I think they chose these episodes to show off the variety the series has to offer rather than succumbing to "herp derp 'splosions!"
The other part of that is that when you look back over TNG, the big space battles were few and far between. What we did get were, with a few exceptions, short exterior scenes that lasted only moments. In fact, the only FX heavy battle scenes that spring to mind are Yesterdays Enterprise, Best of Both Worlds and All Good Things. There would be little point in putting an episode on the sampler disk for that "one really cool 5 second battle scene in the third act".
And I agree with Cymro, I can't wait to see Yesterdays Enterprise. Not so much for the battle scene (which was decent but nothing special IMHO), but for the interior shots. The lighting and background sounds are a complete 180 from any other TNG episode. I think that's what makes this episode the most effective "alternate reality" episode they ever did. The lighting alone really drives home the fact that this is not the Enterprise D we know. When you look back at it they really didn't change the sets that drastically. They made some minor additions, threw in some more extras than normal and turned the sound and lighting schemes completely on their ear. It's sure to look fantastic.