For those still on the fence, maybe these HF Noiseview shots may help?
In these shots, the quality of the noise is very close in the visible levels and slightly more aggressively scrubbed in the less-visible extreme levels on the br. Macroblock artifacts are kept to a minimum in the hdvd, but the br goes just that extra step to take compression artifacts to a nearly nonexistent level. Some have said the hdvd seems just a tad more "sharp", but the reality may be that the detail is pretty much the same in either, but the increased strength of block artifacts in the hdvd may be just enough to make it seem sharper.
In that sense, the br version should not be so unwelcome by anyone who seeks a representative rendition of this video series. It's still got the noise, detail is intact (compared to any other version you could get your hands on), and compression artifact strength is nicely pushed to the edge of nonexistence.
Just my 2 cts.