JVC was first to market with its JY-HD10, which shot 720p HDV.
I reviewed my first HDV camcorder, Sony's groundbreaking HDR-FX1, in December 2004, and I have shot most subsequent projects in HDV. Back then, there was no HD alternative near the $4,000 price tag (or even any reasonable multiple thereof).
The HVR-Z1U was Sony's first professional product that shot HDV.
In this regard, HDV brought HD video production to the masses. The format was developed by JVC, Sony, Canon, and Sharp. By definition, it's a format for storing video on DV tapeoriginally a unique strength, but now an Achilles heel. Why? Now that SD cards are affordable and hard drives capacious, everybody hates tape.
Which is a shame, because though I love AVCHD's quality, it's a pain to edit. HDV could evolve into a higher-data-rate MPEG-2 based standard for storage on solid-state media, which would minimize the prosumer format wars. Failing that, HDV will likely be remembered for its past impact rather than its current relevance.