No decision is final, of course, but I really think I’m going to go for the Sony HD-HC1!
I probably won’t buy anything until after I move (January 7) and I’ll definitely investigate the whole supply chain of tools needed. But I’m going to convert my semi-new system into a Windows video production box and then buy a midpriced laptop (probably an IBM Thinkpad with Linux preinstalled).
BTW, one of my fundamental misunderstandings was reading too much significance into a single spec (the number of CCD’s) when I should have noticed that CMOS technology is becoming the cost-effective technology for rendering images.
Article: CMOS vs. CCD (scientific).
another article by Don Scansen, slightly less technical.
Here’s a short course on CMOS vs. CCD sensors