Maybe to you, but not to me. Several "Dish" folks at satguys finally bit the bullet and swapped last year, and the majority all commented the HD was better. Also, I did note that youd see it more on a larger screen. On a 65" plasma, it wasn't hard at all. And the OP's question was:
Is Dish picture quality as good in HD?
Simple answer: No.
Note that I didn't say that some can see the difference, I can also. The point is that it is only slightly different to most, and that has been reported here and at satguys.
At one time, I had both D* and E* hd service at my home, both connected to the same TV via the same AVR. The TV at that time was a 61" JVC HD-iLA rear projector. The difference was slight enough that I really didn't notice when I was on one or the other for almost every channel.
Now I have a 55" Panasonic plasma and had Dish on it, and in the last year changed to Direct. The difference was miniscule on that set from 8' away. I realize that is very subjective, but frankly in many conversations with friends and relatives that have one or the other, no one ever complains about the quality of the picture and some of them are like me and have switched at times.
So yes, the picture on D* is better, how much is the question from a subjective viewing.