Is HDV Good Enough for Broadcast?

Yes unless your network says otherwise.

You can think of HDV as an HD equivalent of MiniDV. It’s probably fair to say that HDV to HDCAM tape format is what MiniDV is to Digital Betacam.

It is a cheap, consumer tape format that gets the job done. HDV camcorders lack robust features found on higher end cameras but are adequate for many jobs where DV formats would normally be used in SD.

At this time 1080 59.94i and 720 59.94p recording formats are available in North America. An important thing to remember is that HDV uses 25Mbps bitrate and 19Mbps bitrate in case of 720p. This bitrate is the same or lower than the bitrate of DV in SD while the image size is much larger. HDV uses a lot of data compression.

Any material that will be extensively color corrected or used in compositing may not hold up well because of high compression and 4:2:0 color sampling. The best thing is to test before committing to the format.

Post production can be a bit more complicated with HDV format although some editing systems do a decent job of automating certain tasks under the hood and away from your eyes. HDV uses long GOP structure which does not allow editing on every frame.

Overall HDV will deliver but you can’t ask for too much. Check with your executive because most networks limit how much HDV originated material can be used per show.