We just reviewed a Sony HVR-M15U HDV deck. I’ve only used it for a short while, but it looks to be just about what I expected – a DSR-11 that happens to play HDV tapes. If you’ve used a DSR-11 in the past, you’ll immediately be familiar with the form factor and the control layout.
You get full playback for both small and regular sized tapes, HDV/DV/DVCam support and that’s about it. Standard analog outputs are all you get, as it’s quite clear that Sony is incredibly paranoid about stealing sales from higher end Studio decks in the XDCam/HDCam line. Which is stupid.
The M15U will play 1080i60 and 1080i50 – sorry Canon and JVC shooters, no 24 frame or 720 support is available.
As I said, it’s a DSR-11 that happens to play HDV tapes. If that’s all you ask of it, it does a fine job. Just don’t ask too much and everyone will be happy.