"It's sounds like you are simply creating a difference and then rationalizing why that difference is preferable in all cases for your format of choice."
Uh I'm format neutral I' have actually spent more on my BLU-RAY player Panasonic than my HD-DVD player (360-Add-on)
I'm not creating differences, look at the pictures their is a difference, We know VC-1 does have a smoothing effect at times compared to MPEG2, I've seen this with my own eyes as I own both formats 70 HD-DVD and 40 BLU-RAY titles. I know what
MPEG2, AVC, VC-1 encodes looks like and MPEG2 tends be overly sharp and exposes grain and noise and is also not as efficient as AVC or VC-1.
Sounds like some people get so snippy about formats they even go down to being snippy about codecs presumably associating the format with the codec.
As a format neutral person I don't freakin care, I know what my eyes like and they prefer VC-1 it could be on BLU-RAY or HD-DVD for all I care.
I prefer AVC to MPEG2 as well and VC-1 to AVC.
"It seems like the proper criteria is that the codec shouldn't soften or harden or change anything about the image it is fed, in the first place."
Well the MPEG2 version sure isn't cutting it, I don't think that car had grain on it in real life and those flames didn't have that blockyness to it. Since we are most likely never getting Lossless HD video we are talking 20 terrabytes or more of space needed, we have to deal with lossy codecs, none are perfect but some look better and are more efficient than others. MPEG2 simply doesn't cut it for me anymore