"I really don't understand why Canon and Nikon are pushing video features so hard, at the expense of developing features for still photography."
Really??? You STILL don't understand? How about Sony? Olympus? Fuji? Samsung, Sanyo, Flip, Kodak, et. al. You get the point...They are ALL instituting video, and have been for YEARS!!! We are just now getting HD in ALL of them. And why in the WORLD would you consider it "At the expense of developing features for still photography"??? Seriously...Digital still photography quality from EVERY line of camera...from the P&S to the best DSLRs. Video capability has done nothing...zero, zilch to negatively affect image quality on the still side of the equation...and development has moved forward...HDR, better dynamic range, higher ISO, faster focus, better sharpness, faster lenses, weather sealing....the list goes on!!!
"I mean, if I wanted to shoot video, I'd buy a dedicated video camera."
Good for you!!! But MOST folks disagree...MOST folks want MORE features on their devices...See current cell phone trends, social sites for uploads, etc. Smaller packages, more options. That's society.
"Outside of sensor-dependent limitations (e.g. dynamic range), the priorities are completely different - still photographers value things like sync speed, FPS, greater AF coverage/speed/accuracy, and so forth, while videographers value things like being able to shoot at 24, 29.94 and 30fps."
And as has been proven by Canon, that can ALL come in the same fancy little package. Examples; 5d2, followed by 7d, followed by t2i, then the 1dIV....Sony and Nikon are hot on the trail with 1080p shortly. These "new" DSLRs have taken the independent film market by storm! Not to mention, the 5d2 is the cream of the crop for FF sensor/still photography....the 7d, WOW!!! An incredible 1d junior package for a third the cost...8 fps, phenomenal AF acquisition, faster sync speed...ALL of the things you mention that you believe have been "Back Burnered" because of Video capability. Total BS!
"Furthermore, the opportunities for showcasing video are so much less frequent"
Have you picked up an iPad? iPhone? Checked out any websites lately? BIG news sites? CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo, etc...ALL of them have picture and video sections right at the top! Video has become JUST as big a showcase as still photography with the inundation of broadband speeds and wireless internet access getting faster and faster! Interactive periodicals in Electronic form IS the future...Both video and still technology will share the roost.
"- you can produce prints of still photos, or scroll them in a digital frame or online gallery, whereas most people will view a video clip once or twice, then forget about it. "
Not if it's GOOD video! See YouTube! They're opening up Live streaming this week...Ustream, Vimeo, Face Time on the iPhones, video conferencing on Skype....Motion is becoming more and more in demand...not that still photography is done...I think it's more alive than ever with the technology in mainstream digital cameras becoming so good at affordable prices.
"It's not something that you can hang on the wall and just appreciate..."
Sure it is! Haven't you seen the new OLED TVs...the new LED thin panels...LCD picture frames, etc!
"Apart from basic video for emergencies (which is really just an extension of Live View),"
See...you said it! The algorithms were already there to capture motion...and keep in mind, 1080p is TWO MEGAPIXELS!!!! Definitely not a detriment to the quality of the still in said camera
"best to have a still camera dedicated to stills and a video camera dedicated to video, rather than some in-between device which does a mediocre job at both."
Wow! Someone should alert the big manufacturers...and the niche ones (Red, Canon, Flip, Nikon, Apple, Sony...the list goes on)....Mediocore??? Are you serious? Again...someone should really notify George Lucas, Vincent Laforet, whoever that DP was from the hit show "House" (final episode shot entirely on 5d2), and ohhhhh soooo many more!!!
Sorry dude...not trying to totally discredit you...actually, I am! If you are completely ignorant to the motion capability of these cameras (I've made my mortgage payment for two decades doing video production and carrying around many hundreds of pounds of gear!), you REALLY oughta get out and give it a SHOT!!! No pun intended. You may be surprised. 720p @ 24fps is NOT crippled! 24fps if the film standard...and 720p, on a G series camera is most excellent IMHO. 99.9% of folks wouldn't be able to distinguish 720 from 1080 content on their less than 70" plasmas and lcds in the home. And, for the most part...folks will be posting their content to online sites and sharing with families with this camera. On facebook, youtube, vimeo, et al... 720/24 is going to look excellent!