I knew 3 CCD's broke the $1000 mark a while ago but that was the first time I saw it that cheap. That's good to know.
As for the DVD. A lot of my friends seemed to have bought them and then they come to me and ask how to edit the footage like how I do. I just shrug my shoulders and tell them I don't know. I tried to figure it out once but wasn't successful. I equate the DVD cameras to the old VHS style camcorders. Great if all you want to do is pop out the tape/disc and put it in your player to watch. As for editing... forget it.
This is what the firewire port looks like. I don't think footage can be transmitted by USB. Too slow. But I'm not up to speed on it either.