Wow, honestly, didn't expect that much info... but really, thanks, that's all great stuff. I definitely have been reading threads for hours on end. It's hard to really make educated opinions without actually owning any of this stuff.
So to touch on what you mentioned, I am in the US... in Texas, so while I live inside the city, there's a LOT of open area for flying. I agree with your take on trashing a balsa model... maybe i should mount the FPV on a cheapy easystar or something then move it over once i get the hang of it.
I've noticed most videos are taken at relatively high altitude, but I must say, I'd be inclined to fly pretty close to the deck along a river or between rows of trees (in unpopulated areas of course - again a lot here). Is this people being cautious or is there a technical reason they're not doing this?
Also why do most people use electric vs gas? vibration or convenience or what?
On the equipment, I've pretty well identified the 'starter' list of a video RX/TX, Camera, and goggles.
The goggles seem like something you'd want to buy once (actually true for most of this stuff), and I noticed a list them, but the two most popular seem to be Fatshark and RVision... are there other options I should look at? Which is the best?
For cameras I've seen The Sony's and the FPVCam's. It's really tough to even begin to differentiate them. Any insight?
RX/TX is probably the hardest to grasp. It's very technical (and I'm an IT Security Consultant). Is there an advantage to choosing different bands - 900, 1.2, 2.4, 5.6? Does the band have any effect on range (all things equal) or is that just a way of avoiding interference? I have a Futaba 9CHP 72mhz radio, so I don't think those will interfere with that... but 5.6 might be less crowded vs wifi and other communications. What band is best? Should i shell out for a High Gain Antenna.. they seem like they're only 50 bucks or so... and if so, should it be a whip or directional?
Also, on range, is it worth getting a 1000mW Tx or is that a lot of heat and power for nothing?
Anyway, a lot of questions I know, but I really appreciate the help.