I have a Sony camera that outputs AVCHD format, and I have a Windows PC. For the last two years, I've been using PowerDirector 7 to edit my AVCHD videos. When I first started to use PowerDirector 7, I thought it was OK, but since I had never used anything else, I had nothing to compare it to. However, the more I used it, the more strange bugs I found, and the less happy I started to be with it.

I tried submitting the bugs to Cyberlink's tech support, but I generally did not receive much help. Usually I was given scripted responses, and in at least one case the agent clearly ignored the information I provided in favor of following the script. (I actually manage a help desk team, so I'm familiar with what goes into providing good support.) I also tried asking question in forums, but the answers I got were generally work-arounds, which in my mind translates into "We know there's a bug, but here's a roundabout method that's a lot of extra work to make up for where the software is lacking".

Two months ago, a friend came over to edit a video he was making. While trying to instruct him, it made me realize how many little quirks I had accepted and how I had been forced to edit in certain ways to avoid bugs in the software. After three nights of frustration, he politely told me that he had another friend with a different editing package, and was going to finish his project with it instead. That made me think that perhaps there were much better packages out there.

So I'm in the market for some new AVCHD video editing software which can run on my Windows machine. When I check out the on-line reviews, PowerDirector 9 seems to get really good reviews. However, I'm getting that feeling of "deja fool"...or "haven't I been tricked by this before?" Meanwhile, a friend says that Adobe Premier is really good.

I currently make short comedy videos (sketches like you'd see on SNL) and put them on youtube. However, I like to think the video quality (and editing) is high. I also might start to branch out and make some short films.

So, my questions are:
(1) What editing package do the moderators recommend (if you can give recommendations)?
(2) Am I being too picky, or indeed was PD 7 more buggy than it's contemporaries?
(3) Is PD9 significantly less buggy than PD 7?
(4) Is Premier elements more stable and less buggy than PD?
(5) What would I be getting if I got Premier Pro vs. Premier Elements?

Thanks in advance for your help,