I have a Sony HDR-HC1. It is about a year old and has been replaced by the HDR-HC3. Both cameras can do either HD (1080i) or Standard Definition.
When you record in HD and playback through the camera on a Standard Def TV or monitor, the video signal will be down-sampled. Since the video information came from HD, its playback appearance is quite good.
When you record in HD and playback through the camera on a HD TV or monitor using the component cables (HC3) or HDMI connection (HC3), its playback appearance is AWESOME.
When you record in standard def, the playback on a standard def or HD TV or monitor is as good as the source.
There have been comments that both these cameras "don't do well in low light". I have taped rock and jazz bands in dark bars... it does just fine for my needs - basically providing live footage for the bands. When the HC1 was new, it was ~US$2,000. I understand the HC3 is around ~US$1,500. If you shop, you can probably find better pricing. I don't know how available the HC1 is - likely discontinued - but it has a few more "pro-level" manual adjustments the HC3 dropped. You may - or may not - care.
Canon only recently came out with their HD consumer camera. You can find the reviews... Beyond these cameras, the next is to jump to the US$3,000 range... and their form factor is a LOT bigger than the two Sonys or the Canon cameras mentioned above. JVC has an HD consumer camera out, but it has not been very well received... but it *was* first... I don't think it is produced anymore, though I could be wrong on this.
Also, it you do a search on the Sony HDR-HC1 and comparisons you will find a couple of forums - several months back there were videos posted. The HC3 *should* be pretty similar.
What will you be using to edit your video - or are you just planning on playback using the camera?
Since you did not tell us what your current DV camera is, it is a bit of a challenge to understand what you might be giving up. You also did not provide us with a budget you might have for this purchase. There are trade-offs and differences each step of the way... a low-end US$300 camera cannot compete with a US$900 3-CCD (which does REALLY well in low-light) vs a US$1,500 HD 1080i camera vs a US$8,000 HD 1080p 3CCD professional grade camera...
I would recommend staying with MiniDV tape format... and in the higher-end consumer/prosumer grade cameras - if you can afford the. They are small, easy to use and provide "adequate" quality. You can do a search to find any opinion you want... this is just my opinion.
Good luck! (My son is 19 and attending college; he's a great person and a great student. My wife and I believe we have done a correct job of raising an independant contributing member of society and we are very proud of his accomplishments).
Welcome to the world of parenthood! There is no "good" or "bad" age... only different phases of physical, emotional and intellectual growth. It is AWESOME and will go faster than you can imagine.