say anything about your selection... but the other points you made:
According to the camcorder manual:
Lens cover: It is built-in - Refer to page 14.
Refer to page 9. These accessories are in the box. There is an AV cable. This is a composite - analog - set of connectors that has a yellow RCA jack for video, and red (right) and white (left) audio RCA jacks that would connect to many TVs made in the last few years. Also, see page 16 for the location of the AV jack on the camcorder - item 26. Page 72 illustrates the connectivity between camcorder and TV.
Whether the software is difficult or easy to use is up to the person using it. I have every confidence that the folks who can use it are not going to post to proclaim that they can - but the folks having problems will post all their problems with the software. Since this is a hard disc drive (HDD) based camcorder, I don't expect it to be much different from any other HDD camcorder... there may be some drivers needed to get the camcorder to be recognized by the computer - it is merely a USB device, but there needs to be a way to tell the difference between the hard drive and the memory card when using USB.
Page 73 describes the HDD and SD card coying to DVD... and what is supposed to be possible. Page 75 has a little more detail. If you don't delete the video from the camcorder, there is nothing that says you cannot connect the camcorder to a PC. Once the video is in the PC and the video editing application you select can get to it, then edit and save the file that the DVD menuing application likes... then use the DVD menuing app (like WinDVD) and burn the DVD - of course, this presumes your computer has a DVD burner...
Notes: As with all HDD based camcorders, vibration can cause the HDD heads to park and not allow recording. Please refer to page 25 of the manual. On the same page, note that there is an altitude limitation (9,800 feet). These are not specific to this camcorder - and are HDD camcorder issue - neither miniDV tape nor flash memory camcorders have these issues.
Since we don't know what you think you will be capturing to video or what computer you are planning for editing, it is difficult to provide any more detail.
I have been reading through reviews and forums, and I have narrowed it down to this camcorder. However, in looking at the specs on the Panasonic website, I have a few concerns.
1. There is no lens cover (should this be a major concern?)
2. There are no jacks to connect it to my TV for viewing. In fact, there is only a USB jack.
3. I have read that the software is very difficult, and people have had to buy a third-party software just to get it onto their computer. Is that true? My plan is to back it up onto DVDs -- how difficult is their software to get the video off of the camera and onto the DVD? According to the website: "when using a DVD Burner (VW-BN1), data from SD Memory Card can be copied to a 12-cm DVD Disc." My concern is whether this can be done from the hard drive on the camera, IN ADDITION TO tne SD Memory Card.
Any opinions about this would be wonderful -- plus, if there is something negative that I have not caught, please let me know! Thanks!