Consumer acquisition format.
HDV is an inexpensive high definition format intended for consumer and “prosumer” use. It utilizes MiniDV tapes and the same 25Mbps bandwidth as standard definition MiniDV recording. The signal is heavily compressed using MPEG2, the same codec used for DVD. This creates less than perfect situation for NLEs. The long GOP structure does not allow for editing on any frame and material must be transcoded to a different codec or to uncompressed storage prior to editing.
Several manufacturers support HDV format.
HDV works in 1080i and 720p standards. The actual available standards depend on the camera model. Although the format clearly lags behind in quality, the first generation recording in HDV can be quite good looking. Color correction and compositing operations tend to quickly degrade the quality of HDV footage.
Most networks limit the percentage of HDV originated material per show. Check with your executive before committing to shoot using HDV.