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HDV is a format where HD video is recorded on DV/Mini-DV cassette tape. HDV is a much older format (launched in 2003) and was meant to serve as an affordable high definition format for digital camcorders. HDV is typically stored in Mini-DV tapes - which look like the small sized cassette tapes.

HDV has gained a lot of popularity primarily because it couples an affordable technology with great picture quality on a functional archiving solution (due to Mini-DV). The Mini-DV tapes are not only good for capturing video but also double up as a great archiving solution to store video over time.

Increasingly HDV is facing competition from the AVCHD format - which is a much newer higher compression-lower quality format and is designed to be primarily stored on newer storage options like Flash and Hard Disk Drive. However, HDV is still a great choice as there are not very good options in the market right now to safely archive AVCHD video stored in Flash/Hard disk drives.
The best HDV camcorders often also support the newer AVCHD formats, have great manual controls and are compact to boot.

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Panasonic HDC-HS700
Sanyo VPC-SH1
Canon VIXIA HF S10
Vivitar DVR-910HD
Canon VIXIA HF10
Panasonic HDC-HS700K Black 240GB Full HD Camcorder - HDC-HS700K High Definition AVCHD
Sanyo VPC-SH1BK High Definition Camcorder and 10 MP Camera  Black
Canon VIXIA HF S10 32GB Flash Drive HD Camcorder
Vivitar DVR-910HD Camcorder
Canon VIXIA HF10 (16 GB) HDV Camcorder
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Release Date
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Apr 2009
Aug 2010
Mar 2008
Recording Format
DV, AVCHD, HDV, Micro MV
High Definition, DV, HDV
High Definition, DV, Flash Media, HDV, Micro MV
DV, HDV, MV, High Definition
HDV
HDD Size
240.0 GB
64.0 GB
32.0 GB
16.0 GB
Optical Zoom
12.0 x
23.0 x
10.0 x
12.0 x
Recording System
NTSC
NTSC, PAL
NTSC
NTSC
NTSC
Camcorder Type
Digital
Digital
Digital
Digital
Digital
Memory Still Resolution
14.2 MegaPixels
10.0 MegaPixels
8.59 MegaPixels
8.0 MegaPixels
3.1 MegaPixels
Recordable Media
Hard Drive
DV, HDV, Memory Card, Micro MV
Average Rating
 3.9 stars
 3.4 stars
 4.3 stars
 2.0 stars
 3.8 stars
Video
92% Positive
8% Negative
84% Positive
16% Negative
100% Positive
90% Positive
10% Negative
Optics
90% Positive
10% Negative
69% Positive
31% Negative
81% Positive
19% Negative
66% Positive
34% Negative
Interface
50% Positive
50% Negative
60% Positive
40% Negative
64% Positive
36% Negative
100% Negative
Battery
100% Negative
40% Positive
60% Negative
100% Negative