I received an email from Alex which I found very interesting:
“I’ve seen on forum that the limitation to 17Mb/s compress schema is a choice from Panasonic. If you check Wikipedia, you can read that AVCHD has 2 bitstream rate 17Mb/s and 24Mb/s. The choice for the 17Mb/s rather 24Mb/s come from that the 24Mb/s has some compatibility problem with some hardware. The good news, it seem that Panasonic could update his firmware for to support the 24Mb/s, some forum related that some people from Panasonic confirm that a future firmware could be support this feature in the GH1.
Panasonic has selected AVCHD because this is a consummer format and for the compatibility you take 17Mb/s.
The problem is for the future with this codec you have a limitation to 24Mb/s and we can’t expected to see better video in GH-2 if AVCHD is the only video codec.”
I hope it is true, 17Mb/s is subject to artifacts when the image is full of detail.
Thanks Alex for sharing the news!