The miniDV digital data is in a format that we copy in. It appears you dislike the word capture but just like a file copy, it takes hardware, an OS and apps to copy files. MiniDV is a little more involved but most folk will want to use a capture step since raw DV data is quite large. I'll stop here as what follows after that statement is readily available on the web.
2. Yes. But that's a little simplistic. That file is rarely useful. Most of the time folk will want to create a video DVD or video BD disc. So copying the file is rarely the last thing you do.
1) Given that my miniDV HDV camera (Canon HV20) already took the sensor input and has the video and audio stored in a digital format on the miniDv media, why do I have to 'capture' the video/audio over a firewire port? Given that we put digital files on tape for computer backups and read from the tape later on, why can't this be done with the digital files on the miniDV tapes - a device that copies the files from the miniDV tape to the PC's hard drive without having to do a 'capture'?
2) If I used a hard/flash-drive camcorder instead of a miniDV camcorder, I wouldn't have to 'capture' the video onto my computer, correct? I would just copy the file from the hard/flash-drive camcorder to my PC?