shows that it has a FireWire/iLink/IEEE1394/DV port. From what I have experienced, the manufacturers (Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Canon, etc...) NEVER include that FireWire cable in the box - but they DO include the USB cable in the box. I don't know whay they do that - but they do, and it is silly... anyway,
According to the product manual from http://www.css.ap.sony.com/consumer/template/IMCategory.aspx please refer to page 31 - this relates ONLY to transferring images from the memory stick (typically still photos). It is possbble that you are recording video to a memory stick - if that is the case, importing to iMovie could be a bit different - that is, rather than launching iMovie and using the import function, when you attach the camera using USB, does the memory stick mount like a drive on the right side of the screen? If yes, double click it... and look in the folders for the video you shot. If you find files you want, drag tham onto your hard drive to copy them. Launch iMovie and drag the files onto the import clips area on the right side or the timeline at the bottom of the iMovie interface.
If this does not work, you may need to transfer using the DV port - this is also known as the FireWire/iLink/IEEE1394/DV port. On page 34, there is a section referring to the OPTIONAL i.Link cable. I realize this is specific to the Sony Vaio computer, but that is not the issue. I could be wrong, but if you were willing to invest in a whole new computer to get this stuff transferred, then another $25 to try a FireWire cable connecting the camera to the MacMini should not be so painful. FireWire/iLink/IEEE1394/DV port are all the same thing. The FireWire cable needs to be a 4-pin on the camera side to a 6-pin on the computer side (I'm assuming your Dell does not have a FireWire port, so this is MacMini potential solution).
If the USB cable connection mounted the memory stick, drag the memory stick icon to the trash - this dismounts the memory stick so you can then safely unplug the USB cable from the MacMini and the camera. Plug the FireWire cable into the camera and the MacMini and launch iMovie - you *should* be able to use the iMovie import function and other camera controls.
If you want to continue down the Dell path, have you installed the USB driver?
http://www.css.ap.sony.com/consumer/template/DDCategory.aspx?Model=DCR-IP1E&Category=Handycam If not - or if you have tried that, it could be that adding a FireWire port (card) to your Dell might be in order...
The PAL format into your Mac or Dell should be a non-issue. That should connect up just fine by one of the methods above. However, connecting the camera directly to a NTSC TV will result in no/bad image - as you have found out.
Let us know how this works out for you... there may be other methods - but at the moment, these are the easiest that come to mind.
this is really exasperating. I bought a Sony DCR-IP1E micromv model in Hong Kong 2 years back. This is in PAL format. I have a mini MAC at home, and when I try to use imovie to convert video to dvds, it doesnt detect the camera model. So finally I bought a Dell laptop with Windows Media Center and loaded the supplied Image Transfer and Movie shaker proprietary sony software to try to see if I can at least view the content on the computer, and then if successful transfer it on to DVDs. no luck here too. I cannot even connect it to my home TV, and watch it properly, since I am now in US, which supports NTSC format. I have some 10 small tapes, which I need to reuse but only after converting them .Calling out to all gurus out there - PLEASE HELP - pls suggest a way/device as to perform this operation. I havent found much help on the sony asiapacific website ( this model is unknown in the US). I have no intention in junking this model and picking up new one just for this reason.
URGENT ADVICE appreciated