CS4 - Video Preview Codec

I'm a little confused, when creating a video project file, I'm given the choice of a video preview codec, is this just soemthing to allow the video preview to be played back steadily?
Also will this effect my final render? Or will it change if I choose to render with a different codec.
And finally what do you reccomend I select as my video preview codec for working with 720p footage?

Sorry i don't really understand, the video I'm editing is a 720p WMV file, is that right?
I've imported into a poject file with the video preview codec set to 'uncompressed'

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