I had this discussion many times and I guess I am still not tired having it. Being an extremely happy owner of a Sony DVD403 camcorder and having a chance to see miniDV recordings I can tell you: MiniDV for non-professional use SUCKS! 1. You can’t watch it on a dvd player, being the most widespread way of watching video. You can’t distribute it to your broader family or friends like that. You have to convert it. Any conversion (that you will be watching, not the original dv) will be worse than my mpeg2 recorded footage. You will be compressing twice, me only once. At HQ setting I do 9.1mbps for video and let me tell you… IT LOOKS ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. Even on older tv-s, let alone on wide screens etc. 2. I do 16:9 video right from the start. 3. Dolby 5.1 AC3 audio right there. 4. Editing… he he. All I have to do is put together selected clips (cut & paste, no transcoding and re-encoding) and bind it through a dvd menu. Creating menus and navigation pieces alone takes a lot of time (selecting art mostly - music, images, animations,…), let alone having to re-encode it. With good selection of templates it could be a breeze, creating a dvd. 5. Blank disks are NOT expensive. Double sided Optodisc is $3.75, Canadian (of course Sony charges 7 times more, but that’s Sony for you, Optodisc works flawlessly). 6. Tapes… seeking, rewinding… back forward. Oh, I had it with tapes. Long time ago. 6. 3MP digital camera with flash included. And finally, if you are so concerned with having family video be of the utmost quality, why don’t you get real professional equipment and do full DV. You know, miniDV still “screws up” video by compressing it… 7:1. I am absolutely sure that on tv you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between my original hq mpeg2 and your miniDV, especially your re-encoded miniDV into mpeg2. It is so obvious. And finally speaking about people who would be watching it and enjoying it… there would be no difference. It’s only that I had my work finished in less time and with less effort. There! About hard drives… not so good with vibrations… as usual. Only the solid state memory, when it becomes cheap enough could make me switch… but only if it does mpeg2 … or whatever the current most widespread format for watching video is at the time. Finally, with 9.1mbps I could even re-encode it and it would still look good.