Blackmagic Design is now shipping Intensity Pro, a $349 PCI Express card you can install in a Mac or a PC that lets you capture uncompressed HD video via an HDMI port, and then view that video as you edit by plugging in an HDMI-equipped HDTV set.
The Intensity Pro also lets you capture and play back any analog source using S-Video or component connections. If you don't need that analog capability, for $249 you can just get the previously available Intensity card that handles HDMI only. HDTV shooters and editors, consumer and pro, are going to love this.
Many of the latest consumer-grade HD camcorders have HDMI ports, and they're able to send their uncompressed video images directly out that HDMI port and into an Intensity card installed in your Mac or PC, bypassing the HDV compression that's necessary to lay it down on tape. This way, you get mainline 1920 HDTV video straight from the camera's imaging chips, bypassing that HDV compression.
Of course, you'll need to have a desktop Mac or PC nearby when you're shooting this video, a cumbersome prospect for on-location shooting but perfectly suitable for studio work. Once your footage is captured, you'll end up with some huge files on your hard disc, but Blackmagic also includes its own compression technology, if you choose to make those files smaller and easier to edit, too.
Either one of these cards could also be extremely useful when you want to view your footage on a television set while you're editing HD footage. This is really hard to do in real time using HDV camcorders, whose video can't looped through in real time as you can do with standard-def DV camcorders. Using Intensity's HDMI output, you simply plug in an HDTV set and then you can see all your video in real time as you edit, even effects that usually need to be rendered if you want to see them on an external monitor. The Intensity Pro's analog outputs can also send video to an S-Video or component monitor in the same way.
What a neat idea, solving a few of the pesky problems of shooting and editing HDV with one card and a few connectors.