MiniDV requires firewire to download. This means you'll need a PCMCIA to Firewire adapter card for your laptop and the cable (usually comes with the card). This is not a USB compatible cable.
I hope your camera came with editing software, because it will have the firewire interface software. If not, most decent video editing software can read and write to firewire.
If you were to use a TV video capture card, you'd lose a lot of the detail your camera worked so hard to get. Also your editing software would have to do a lot more work to produce the final output video.
Fav quote - "Experience is whatcha don't get 'till ya don't need it no more."
System - Athlon 1.4GHz, Win98, Hauppauge PVR250 receiver and compressor.
Software -Magix Movie Edit Pro 10, Nero 6 + NeroVision Express, Moho 4.61, PSP 8.1, Bryce, Quicktime 6.52 pro, Goldwave 5, DVD-Lab.
Cameras - Panasonic GS9, Canon ES8400V, Canon EOS D20 and Canon A70