MiniDV... tape? Did it beat you as a child or kill your pet?
Regarding Sony's "3 new miniDV models"... that does not include the HDR-HC5 and HDR-HC7 - both new high-definition camcorders which use miniDV tape. So... your "3" is wrong because the number is "5". This "estimate" is about as far off as your MacBook Pro vs Dell estimate. And until the AVCHD codecs are made available for folks to edit high-definition video on the hard drive based and DVD based camcorders, those units are standard definition only.
As for the Panasonic SDR announced models - when they need to compare to a 8cm DVD for recording time "improvement", that's a little like comparing a 1964 Volkswagen Bug to a 2007 version... Why anyone would compare the worst in the technology with the newest (and supposedly best) is doing some serious marketing spin. And in High Definition, they are in the same AVCHD boat Sony is. NOTHING to edit with.
Samsung's not even available until September. Yawn.
JVC's HD Everio at $1,800 (MSRP) is too much more than the others... With luck it will have better optics and imaging than the previous JVCs, but they are late to market... I hope they didn't saddle it with AVCHD like Sony and Panasonic did...
It takes a small bit of common sense and a teeny bit of reading to know that high-definition televisions have been selling like crazy - it only makes sense that high-definition cameras would be the big announcements from camcorder manufacturers... and with the onslaught of BluRay and HD-DVD players, it was pretty much expected... unless of course maybe you were expecting a bunch of new miniDV based camcorders with all these electronics and news and faster-smaller-better swirling around us for the last few years... CES is the place for announcements of new product... or am I missing something in your questions?
But to say all this "spells the end" of the miniDV format is ludicrous. Go into any semi-decent video studio, and you will find BETA (and VHS because they have to)... because the quality is good, and the gear is still made and supported. The world of high definition basically took over last year... and to capture it, I was using minDV... and the pro-grade stuff continues that path... along with hard drive, DVD and flash-based media. (Though I suppose you believe film is dead, too - in case you were not aware, most movies are done using film...)
When the image quality is as good or better than I can get now, I will be ready to move to the next great technology... but I just have not seen it yet... Have you? If you have, where and how and with what gear? If you have not, why are you asking what you are asking?
Attention all of the MiniDV users or bound to be users. According to announcements at CES, there have been drastic decreases in each company's MiniDV line of camcorders and increases in announcements of HDV, AVCHD, DVD, HDD, and Flash camcorders. Sony announces only 3 new models for this year. Panasonic does the same. Canon slims down to only 3 new models as well. Samsung announces only 1 MiniDV model. JVC slows down to only 2 new models. Does this spell the near end for the format? Has the world of HD taken over? Has the popular format met its match?
A link that you might want to read:
Feel free to give your thoughts about this move made by the camcorder companies.