I downloaded the trial for VoltaicHD to see whether it would be a better alternative to the Final Cut Express import process for AVCHD files (or even if it would be useful for converting AVCHD files that aren't recognizable by FCE.) Note: the demo is good for 10 conversions, with a maximum file size of 50MB
First the good news: It converts .MTS files (native AVCHD files) no matter where they are, so that's a big plus over FCE and will be useful for archiving .MTS files. I copied a .MTS file from the camera card onto the Desktop and then successfully converted it. The program has a simple, but intuitive interface; drag the files into a list, where you can select them if you want to transfer them, and you can see a preview of the first frame of the clip by clicking the Details button. There's no In and Out point selection as there is in FCE, but I can live with that.
The bad news: it takes much, much longer than FCE to do the conversion. A 15 second clip took FCE 32 seconds to convert on my test machine (a 1.8GHz MiniMac) but took VoltaicHD 5 minutes and 22 seconds.
File sizes were almost identical: the original 15 second clip was 23.6MB. FCE's file was 246.6MB, while VoltaicHD's was 241.6MB Curiously, VoltaicHD's own FAQ says that files are typically 4 times the original size, but up to 7 times for "action clips" yet this source file was a camera held shot of a fireplug with the only motion being slight movement of the camera!
On the one hand this tool provides a way to access .MTS files that have been archived to another medium, but performance is poor (I'm talking about conversion time here, the file size is acceptable given that it's what FCE produces.) Other than for reconverting archived files, I don't see that I'll use it in place of FCE.