Several manufacturers offer cost-effective professional HD camcorders that deliver broadcast-quality video, and feature flexibility and ease-of-use. Panasonic's new AG-HMC150, for example, records the highest quality AVCHD video on inexpensive SD memory cards, even in low light areas.

We recently used the $3,995 HMC150 to shoot nighttime video of bridges, city lights, and performing musicians on a cruise around Manhattan, and were amazed at the clarity and lack of video noise in the resulting clips.

Easy HD Editing

Assembling your HD video clips into a finished program with special effects, graphics and subtitles, is now easier than ever with iMovie 08 (for Mac) and a variety of applications for Windows PCs.

Pinnacle Studio Ultimate version 12 is a versatile, PC-based editing package. It can edit either HD or SD (standard definition) video, and provides simple access to AVC, AVCHD, Blu-ray, YouTube, and other new media formats. For beginning editors, "Montage" editing lets you simply drag and drop clips and stills onto a template, and the program finishes your movie with multilayered effects and animated graphics. For advanced videographers, the $130 suite features powerful tools for color correction and titling. The retail product also includes a green screen backdrop for CNN-style chroma-key inserts.

Edited HD video can be saved for playback on Blu-ray discs by adding the latest Sony BWU-300S ($399.99) internal Blu-ray rewritable drive to your PC.

Digital Signage Rocks

Dynamic HD video content, combined with timely animated text and graphics can be easily delivered to key locations using digital signage solutions. Retail stores, malls, conference rooms, reception areas, and dining areas are just a few of the places where signage applications can deliver your message. The rapidly plummeting cost of HDTV flat-panels and digital signage systems has brought this powerful application within the reach of every business.

Scala continues to set the pace with its InfoChannel 5 signage solution for everything from a single interactive kiosk to a worldwide commercial signage network. Scala's system is powerful, versatile, and customizable.

Cisco's new Digital Media System enables on-demand delivery of HD video, Flash movies and Web content, via an IP network, to multiple local or distant flat-panel displays. The system employs the compact IP-based Digital Media Player 4400G (under $600), and Cisco's Enterprise TV server application (price varies).

For a simpler solution, check out 3M's Digital Signage Solo Edition 2.0 software ($599). Ideal for applications such as an automated showroom display, the latest version will run on any Windows-based PC, and offers drag-and-drop scheduling of content.

Unique Display

Digital signage monitors are available in a wide variety of standard sizes from many manufacturers. A unique display, the Stretch Screen from LG Electronics, is designed for areas where space is limited. At roughly half the height of a traditional display, the 29-inch M2900S-BN ($3,599) and 38-inch M3800S-BN ($4,599) HD LCD flat screens feature a 178-degree viewing angle, as well as portrait and landscape mounting options.

With so many good choices on the market, it's easy to select the right tools to produce and display your high-definition messages, wherever your audiences may be.