Just a heads-up for all who have been waiting for easy editing of AVCHD, like myself. I finally had an opportunity to play with the latest Sony gizmo, the HDR-TG1 (and a geat toy it is too!). This is a pocketable full HD camcorder, even with surround sound mics built in! The mics actually do differentiate where the sound comes from, but this is not a review of the camcorder. My main interest was to see how convenient and practical it is to edit the AVCHD. The camcorder records onto Memory Sticks, so I left the clips on the Memory Stick Pro Duo and simply dragged them into the time line of Sony Vegas Platinum 8. First pleasant surprise - they play straightaway, no conversion required. Put in some transitions, a title, etc and rendered the lot into high quality 1080 HD, mpeg2 @ around 25megabits per second. Worked like a charm. Rendering time was only 20% longer than the real time of the video. One minute takes 1.2minutes to render on my Quad PC. This compares to a minute/minute for rendering HDV from tapes. Final file size is about 3x the AVCHD clips total, i.e. 100 megabytes on the Memory Stick ends up at about 300 megabytes in the final version.
In brief, if you have been thinking of purchasing an AVCHD camcorder but was held back by fear of endless waits for conversions, no need to dilly dally any more. At least the Sony AVCHD (no idea about Canon, etc) edits very well in Sony Vegas Platinum 8, presumably also 9 and Pro versions.