been seeing that they all hook up to the computer to transfer video via Firewire. Most of these camcorders have USB ports, but theyre used for just transferring pics.
Okay, here is the deal. The USB port on the camcorders is typically for transferring whatever happens to be on the memory card. Many newer model camcorders can actually store video directly to the memory card, just like our hybrids do. However, the quality is often inferior and meant for "web" usage.
As for the video stored on the Mini-DV tape, that is a different issue. The video files are huge in comparison to MPEG4 video and require a lot of bandwidth to play. At the time USB and firewire came out, USB was far too slow to playback this kind of video in realtime, so the video standard was defined for firewire. True, USB 2.0 could probably handle it fine, but nobody has felt like creating a new standard for it, when everybody is already using firewire.