The major complain when it come to reviewing Sony SR7/SR8, panasonic SD5 or any previous model is the lack of editing tools for AVCHD (beside low light performances, but that is common on consumer camcorder). That's why I propose You some links now:
Playing AVCHD (*.m2ts)
- Natively on a PS3 directly from the camcorder
- Sony Picture Motion Browser is also a good player (Free, on your sony's camcorder cd suite, PC only)
- Power DVD 7.0 Ultra ($99), by the way the best non free player (VideoLan being free and multi platform)
Converting .m2ts to .wmv
Windows Media Encoder + K-Lite Codec Pack
I have been able to use this combination and it works well. I can't recommend encoding to .wmv (not as open as mpeg for many device) except if you wan to stream to an Xbox 360 (Media Center Extender
Converting .m2ts to .mp4
Nero Recode will convert .m2ts files to .mp4 without a hitch. Good quality, as well
Fast and multiple format converter
Elecard Converter Studio AVC HD Edition is a program for movie file conversion from AVCHD® to MPEG-2 HDV and MPEG-2 DVD compatible formats. Owners of AVCHD® Camcorders (for example, Sony® HDR-SR1E, Panasonic® HDC-SD1. Click here for a full list of camcorders.) will find it a useful product which allows them to convert the footage from their cameras into format supported by their favorite editing software.
You can download a demo here ($75 for the full edition), it is working great and play the original m2ts a lot faster than Power DVD 7 Ultra on my machine. It is also damn fast (on my HP NW9440)
Nero 7 Ultra Edition Enhanced, is a software suite which contains the AVCHD editor Nero Vision. Also included in this suite is Nero Showtime, which plays AVCHD files natively. Nero Vision can convert AVCHD files to other formats such as MPEG-2 or AVI and can import them for use in video editing projects. Nero Vision can also export Sony's M2TS format to MPEG-4 files that can be viewed by Quicktime 7. Edited video can also be burned to DVD discs in AVCHD format for playback on hardware players or in Blu-ray format. [from WikiPedia]
Ulead Studio 11 Plus (30 days trial here). It also keeps AVCHD files with 5.1 audio, in it's original state. You can then convert it to any output format; to Hardrive, DVD, HD DVD etc. It's the first AVCHD editor, that allow to trim the front part of the AVCHD files, without crashing, hanging up, losing the video. You can edit AVCHD file from any brand,, not just Sony.
Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8 ($119), is just for Sony AVCHD cameras and is maybe the more adavanced editor on the market as for today. I was able to use basic functions (cutting, moving track, exporting) in a few minutes. Speed and use of great is great. Same rule apply, try it yourself before buying it.
Some .m2ts video samples to play with
I recommend You to download low light video, pictures and judge yourself.
- Shot 1: Match and fire and Shot 2: Leaf and water drops
- SR7 Visit at the Zoo
- SR8 japanese review translated to english has some big m2ts file and pictures to download
- SR8 pictures
- SR8 night video
- SR7 Candle light video
- SR7 Outdoor video (closer shots) no tripod