I've been trying to figure out how to explain to you why this footage looked bad. First it's worth noting that the CinemaCon honchos bragged that their projection system in that theater was the most advcanced and best ever assembled by man. That's almost a direct quote. So the presentation would almost certainly never be better than what I saw today.
Second, I must say that it's possible there will be lots of post-production work done to offset some of the lighting issues. I also assume that the few 'complete' scenes we saw will continue to be edited before release.
With those caveats out of the way, here's what The Hobbit looked like to me: a hi-def version of the 1970s I, Claudius. It is drenched in a TV-like - specifically 70s era BBC - video look. People on Twitter have asked if it has that soap opera look you get from badly calibrated TVs at Best Buy, and the answer is an emphatic YES.
The 48fps footage I saw looked terrible. It looked completely non-cinematic. The sets looked like sets. I've been on sets of movies on the scale of The Hobbit, and sets don't even look like sets when you're on them live... but these looked like sets.
The other comparison I kept coming to, as I was watching the footage, was that it all looked like behind the scenes video. The magical illusion of cinema is stripped away completely.
As I said above the landscape shots are breathtaking. 48fps is the future of nature documentaries. But if it's the future of narrative cinema I don't know if that future includes me.
It's unlikely you're going to see The Hobbit at 48fps (especially if all the grumbling I heard from theater owners is any indication.