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Video Newbie Needs Help

I've never used a camcorder but have shot a couple video clips on a cheap camera. I want to get into video and editing. From the research I've done, I want to get a Panasonic HDC TM-700. I've got a new quad PC with 8 G of ram coming in a few days. I'm exited and terrified. I don't want to buy the wrong camcorder and I don't want to spend big $$ on editing software until I know it will work and have a feel for it. It seems the TM-700 file format has problems with a lot of software. What will it work on, even if not in 1080/60p? I know nothing of converting file formats etc. Is there some free or cheap software I can just import my video into in any setting and just play around with? Will this work with windows movie maker at all? I'm spending a fair amount of dough and would like minimal frustration when starting my new hobby. Should I go with the canon or sony because of these software compatibility problems? I really like what I've seen about the HM-700. I'm an old guy and don't even know anyone who has ever owned a camcorder. Please help. Thanks

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