Monday, August 27, 2007

How To Copy DVD Movies

There may be many reasons why you'd want to make a copy of a DVD. One thing is DVD discs don't last forever. They get scratched and damaged even in normal use and even if you leave it alone a DVD will deteriorate over time. It's hard to find accurate data but most sources agree that in real life CDs and DVDs won't last as long as the manufacturers would have you believe.

Anyway, if you're reading this, chances are you have a good reason to want to know how to copy a DVD. So let's get on with it.

Copying a DVD - The Problems

Different formats. Most commercially produced movie DVDs are in fact DVD-9 discs which contain more data than the standard DVD-R disc can hold. Thus direct copying is typically impossible because the movie simply won't fit on the writable DVD. The solution is to "transcode" the movie making it smaller. There are various applications that can do that (more on this later).

Copy protection. Most commercial DVD movies are encrypted, scrambled and otherwise protected to prevent anyone from copying them. For a long time the most popular solution was to use a program called DVD Shrink, which could both decode the video, compress it to fit on a DVD-R and burn a DVD (with help of other programs). However, DVD Shrink hasn't been updated for a long time and can't handle modern copy-protection mechanisms. There's still a way though.

How To Copy Any DVD Movie

1. Download and install AnyDVD. It's a driver that will remain in background and transparently decode any DVD you put in your computer. Other programs will see the DVD as if it had no copy protection or encryption, making it easy to copy the disc. It also has many other features but the best part is that AnyDVD is updated regularly so it can recognize most protection schemes and remove them.

2. Copy the DVD using any software you want. There are many possibilities -
  • Nero Recode, part of Nero 7 software pack. Very easy to use and well known in the industry, but it's a commercial application (with a trial version available).
  • DVD Shrink (+ some tutorials that explain how to copy DVD movies). With the encryption neutralized, DVD Shrink can again copy any disc, plus it's freeware. Note that you will need another application to burn the copy; DVD Shrink can use Nero and some other programs to do this automatically. You can find details on the site.
  • Clone DVD (+ a tutorial). Another popular application written by the same people who made AnyDVD. This one is shareware.
It doesn't matter which of these you use to copy DVDs - all will work. However, some may be faster or more easy to understand for you. For example, I like the interface of Nero Recode but I've heard CloneDVD is more stable and the DVDs created with CloneDVD work better in home DVD players. It's your choice - you can try some of the applications I mentioned or find something else entirely.

That's the basic stuff you need to know about how to copy a DVD. Well, there are other types of DVDs (like games or data discs) that you might need to backup, but that's a topic for another post ;)

49 comments:

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Christopher Clarke said...

A laptop with a dvd burner usually comes with a dvd burning software, or at least the ones i buy.

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Rob said...

I'm going to try out some of these suggestions. Thanks.

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Tom Sonson said...

Hi Guys. I thank you for this informative article, but I think that great software for DVD Movies copy/burn is Roxio's Easy DVD Copy 4 for PC and Roxio Popcorn 4 for Mac computers.
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Official said...

DVD Shrink is one of the best free software to create backup copies of your DVDs. The software creates a copy of the DVD on your hard drive, though there protections, eliminate them, at this point you can burn it to DVD with any burning program, and especially useful freeware.

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JackSmitha said...

Very detailed instructions. But really very complex. I recommend Longo DVD Copy from http://www.longodvd.com , I use it for a long time.

It can auto fix the copy protection, and copy dvds to computer hard drive or directly burn to blank discs. Don't need other decrypters at the same time.

Hope useful for you.

Shania said...

I'm an avid movie collector, especially the classic ones like "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "The Great Train Robbery." I see to it that I get DVD copies of these movies so I won't lose them in the event that my PC suddenly breaks down. It's quite difficult to find copies of these anywhere.

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I'm an avid movie collector, especially the classic ones like "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "The Great Train Robbery." I see to it that I get DVD copies of these movies so I won't lose them in the event that my PC suddenly breaks down. It's quite difficult to find copies of these anywhere.

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Tina said...

This is a helpful article, but I think it isn't a easy thing for the beginners. For dvd copy software, I suggest Ideal DVD Copy Software, it embeded with decryption, copying and burning features. You can copy any of your dvds directly, don't need any other softwares at all.

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