Actually its not strictly proprietary, its a MOD file which at least a handful of different companies and software programs know about. One of which is Power DVD which came with the camera. While I guess I could install Power DVD on every computer I might want to watch my clips on, I was thinking there had to be a better way.
It occured to me tonight that the camera didn't come with any Mac software, and there had to be at least one mac user out there that bought this camera and then tried to read the files that it created. So I pulled out my handy internet indexing tool and entered jvc mc500 mac. The results for the first entry were very promising:
As a Mac user I was initially disconcerted to find that the MC-500 had no Mac oriented software at all.Ahah. This person obviously found the solution, and indeed he had: Squared 5 MPEG Streamclip. Crossing my fingers, I went to the web site and discovered there were converters to decode or re-code those crazy MOD files for both Mac OSX and Windows XP. So I downloaded the PC version, ripped out all traces of Quicktime, loaded the referenced KL Quicktime Alternative and loaded my first clip. Seconds later I had saved out the file as a normal MPG file and now can read the files without any trouble in Windows Media Player and VLC. They're even a little smaller.
None. Zero. Zip. Nada.
Obviously the best solution would be if the camera output normal files in the first place, but this will do as a workaround until someone comes out with an affordable HDV solid state 3-chip videocamera.