Yep, BobMathijs is right. I've experimented with vcd and svcd and the result leaves a lot to be desired, hence my comment about having to buy a dvd burner. You really need the higher bit rate it gives. If you're not that concerned about quality, buy a Hi-8 and save some money.
Reviews I've read on the equivalent model Panasonics and Canons have also been good, I would have been happy with either of those, the Sony just happened to be better value when I was ready to buy (and it's slightly smaller). They all offer slightly different features, e.g. the Sony has an i.r. remote while the Panasonic has a corded remote, Canon has higher optical zoom etc. etc. Try and figure out what options you want before you buy. No point buying a Sony just for the name, make sure it has the main features you need.
If you have any specific questions about the Sony, just ask.
@Airhead, I didn't think it was Macrovision when I read the manual (you know things are getting bad when techs have to read the manual first :eek: ). It implied that it simply wouldn't record a copyrighted signal, but maybe that's all it is. I'll have to try it, out of curiosity - it's not something I could see much use for, so haven't bothered with it.
Seems I was wrong - sort of :o . Not like me . I re-read the manual and it states that if the tape you play contains copyright signals ( ) then you cannot copy it with another camcorder. Doesn't seem to be much of a problem, since I've never seen any pre-recorded DV-tapes for sale!
In my defence, the manual IS over 300 pages (half of it in French - really useful), and this is a tiny paragraph on p285.
I still like the camera anyhow.