I've enjoyed reading through this thread. I'm going to get a Blackmagic Intensity card and use it record from my Canon HV20 directly to my PC. I also recently enjoyed listening to the video review of the Intensity card at
Where it clearly states (at about 1:10) that recording with the Intensity card via HDMI bypasses the compression chip in the camcorder. If so, I think is of interest to us.
I hope this helps.