Well, I see this is a bit of a sore issue. Perhaps the main thing about 24p is the following extract from Kyser's link above, which explains matters fairly clearly.
Extracting a true 24p clip from a 60i recording simply requires copying the raw data for the red, yellow, magenta, and blue frames into a new 24p file, skipping the green frame altogether. No decompression or recompression is required, and all recovered 24p frames retain first-generation quality. No clipping or other loss is incurred; you are still working with all your frames in their first-generation glory in 24p.
If this is true, it sort of eases my mind. However, Kyser, I downloaded the second clip from the "HV20 24p RAW Files" thread (thanks for the demo) and played it back on Windows Media player 11, viewed on my Sony CRT monitor set to 1600x1200 resolution, its highest, and it seemed very choppy to say the least.
When the diaphanous curtains move in the breeze, they are not smooth at all. This entire 100MB clip looks like a about 20 or 30 individual still frames.
I'm searching for an explanation and all I can think of is my video card does not have a 72hz refresh rate. It's either 70Hz or 75 Hz, so the 24 fps are out of sync with my monitor's refresh rate. Would this be the right explanation?
I opened the file in Sony Vegas 7 to check the details and, sure enough, it's described as 1920x1080x24p . 29.970 fps progressive.
ps. I've just changed the refresh rate of my monitor to 60Hz. The clip is still very choppy, so maybe the refresh rate has no bearing on this issue. What's going on?