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PrE11 does run on a Mac. There are a few things that are not included in the Mac Version, primarily effects.
PrE11 is the first version Adobe says has full support of AVCHD.
I'm pretty sure the freeware VLC media player for Mac will play AVCHD.
Premier Elements 11 costs about $80. Premier Pro costs about $600 or more. You can rent it by the month.
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Certainly the program will edit AVCHD.
Your Mac will also be play AVCHD -- either via VLC Player (as Bill says) or through Quicktime player if your video has been converted to MOV AVCHD files.
Premiere Pro CS6 is a dramatically different program, with support for virtually all professional video formats and a much more sophisticated and professional editing workspace. It also interfaces with Encore and After Effects.
Will PE 11 edit the AVCHD video even if I dont convert the files to a format such as what you said or .mp4? I believe the files are .MTS... i think.
On my iMac (2010), I use Elements 11 to edit AVCHD footage. It's from a Sony Handycam in 1080i format.
Elements reads mts format.
Of course, it works the same way on my second install on a Windows 7 laptop.
When I want to playback only my clips, on my Mac, I use VLC without problems. If you want to edit on other Mac software,
for example with iMovie, you need to convert the mts file. I have converted a clip to mp4, for testing with iMovie or playback
with Quicktime. I used Handbrake or avidemux on Mac environment to do this conversion (don't remember which one).
On the differences between Premiere Pro and Elements, Pro is a standard of video editing since years, it has a lot of functions.
By example, you may do multicamera editing easily.
Elements is, in my opinion, a good tool, and version 11 has a user interface less 'professional' than pro.
The important difference is of course the price, between a professional tool and a simple user one.
In Windows, if Windows Media Player can play the file, I know that Premiere Elements will be able to edit it. From what I know of codecs, This could only mean that if the codec is installed, Premiere Elements and Windows Media Player can take those up and "understand" the file (for playback and editing, you need to understand what file it is and what properties it has).
While on a MAC, if QuickTime does playback a file, it is nearly guaranteed to be understood by Premiere Elements. Not true the other way around. Premiere Elements can play and work with a file perfectly well, but the native Quick Time does not play them. MTS files fall under this category. I see that this anomaly is because of the way the codecs (needed to "understand" the file) are specific to applications. For example, I had to make QT playback DivX files - to do this, I had to search for a codec and place it in QuickTime plugins folder - that tells me that unless you are using QT for everything on a MAC, you can not playback a DivX file on any other application. Otherwise you need a DivX codec supplied by your application vendor. They are not shared like they are on Windows. I could be wrong with some of my assumptions, the forum veterans can confirm
In short, to really confirm if there is support for MTS files in PRE11, try it with the trial version of Premiere Elements 11. Then decide on the purchase.