I am at a loss to explain why Cogeco would be better? This is indeed a confusing situation.
I have had Rogers Cable, Bell Satellite, and Bell Fibe. I own a 70" Sharp 1080P HDTV and a 52" Sharp 1080P HDTV. I would challenge anyone to see a difference in any of these three provider situations. They are all excellent.
I have Fibe TV now and it's as clear as a bell (pardon the pun).
How is it that TylerMrK sees crap, and then changes to Cogeco and is satisfied.
Does anyone have even a plausible explanation?
There could be several reasons for this. The first one that jumps to my mind is that the source that Bell is obtaining the feed from simply isn't as good as Rogers (or Cogeco, who is probably just obtaining the first-gen signal directly from Rogers). There could also be issues with the individual line that is reducing bitrate, but those issues are few and far between on FTTH installs. It could also be that fine detail is being lost during the conversion from a (for example) 1080i MPEG2 source into 720p MPEG4 AVC, as they aren't dedicating the same processing resources to this channel as they may be to something like Sportsnet for whatever reasons Bell deems themselves appropriate.
In my own personal experience I've found that Bell can be a *lot* better than Cogeco, depending on what you're looking for at any particular time. A still or slow image on Cogeco can look better because it's higher resolution and effectively becomes 1080p as each interlaced frame is processed into a single image by the TV, but fast motion can be a lot worse because detail gets lost by the interlaced signaling as well as MPEG2 macroblocking that isn't an issue with the compression method Fibe TV uses. Motion handling on Bell TV in my experience is an order of magnitude better than Cogeco, but this is something that you wouldn't be able to accurately represent with a still image.
If still images are important or you watch a lot of slow-moving content like what you see on a channel like Love Nature, I suppose Cogeco might be more to your liking. I have been a subscriber of three services - Cogeco, Shaw Direct and Fibe TV. My own experience is that you'll notice a huge difference in favour of Fibe TV when you actually sit down and watch a fast-moving sport like a hockey game rather than looking for details when the image is still. In contrast, I found baseball on Shaw Direct to be better than Bell. My own experience is that macroblocking on Cogeco can be pretty freaking terrible sometimes, and if your TV doesn't have any sort of digital noise filter the macroblocking can be so bad that it can almost make some content unwatchable. Shaw Direct's MPEG2 channels also exhibit quite a bit of macroblocking, but their MPEG4 channels in my experience were excellent despite being a lower bitrate than Fibe TV.
In my opinion, whether the "softer" image of Fibe TV is actually worse than any other provider is a matter of personal opinion and the specific content you're watching. I have a cheap no-name 49" and a 60" Samsung H6350 (among other smaller ones) and aside from no macroblocking (which has a fantastic benefit for the cheap 49" television as it has no digital noise reduction worth mentioning) I haven't noticed anything so drastic caused by the lower resolution to make me ever want to switch back to Shaw, especially since a lot of US network content is already only 720p at source to begin with.