In an effort to avoid spending $999+ on a Mac, I am looking for a PC equivalent of iMovie. I spent a few hours on a friends Mac and found iMovie (2009) extremely easy to use with a really professional end result. Is there any PC program that compares or do I have to suck it up and become a Mac guy?
Camtasia Studio is pretty much the go-to software for screencasting & light editing on Windows. I don't know what iMovie is like, so I can't compare them directly. If you want finer control over the audio side than what Camtasia offers, then many people use the free Audacity alongside Camtasia.
Another consideration could be Microsoft's new Expression Studio, their "multimedia" suite with the modern day version of Frontpage, an image editor, and a video editor & encoder. (All also available as standalone apps.)
You don't say if this is for a one-time screencast or if video editing will be a recurring task for you. Camtasia can do more or less everything you'll need to do with video, except supply talent and good taste. If this is a one-time affair, then you might consider going with one of the well known screencasters such as Procasts (there are several others), for that professional result...
Suck it up.
I have tried Video Editing on both Mac & PC - although there is some high end PC software available for editing I have not found anything suitable at mid-range (with, as you say, robust performance) on the PC (Windows or Linux).
Plenty of bundled software packages that come with video cameras - none of them seem to be worth spit. Some only work with custom formats. I've got a four year old underpowered Mac laptop which is a better, faster and more versatile video editing platform than my dual processor desktop.
Good start-up idea if you have the knowledge - a $99 video editing package with the same functionality as iMovie.