Although I am not personally ready to take the channel dive yet, I really can't say anything bad about the system. That is so long as you can stomach the EST line of bindings. Otherwise, you can use conversion plates for regular bindings (more companies will have conversion plates available next season such as Flow), but in my opinion, that completely defeats the purpose. Well, Burton's pro riders mostly use conversion plates on channel boards lol.
My sister in-law owns a channel board with EST bindings. She didn't have a single problem this past season. The screws didn't even loosen. For 2011, the channel system has been improved so it should technically perform better.
As for the feel of the EST and Channel system... I admit that I like the feel. EST bindings don't have plastic on the base so it is all dampening cushion. This is mainly for comfort. I can't quite explain it, but the EST and channel system does provide added response in the board's flex. For example, doing ollies/nollies and presses felt a bit smoother on this system. However, the difference is highly negligible. It's no where near game changing.
Basically, if there is a Burton board that you really like, go for it. If there is another board that you prefer over the Burton, don't let the channel system be the reason why you choose the Burton. Think of the channel system as adding minor improvements to a board that you already like.