DVD burners: can they copy movies?

My kids have put a few of our DVDs through a bit of abuse, and scratches and scuffs are starting to cause problems. For their computer CDs, I’ve made copies of many to avoid this problem and I think I would like do the same with some of our DVDs.

Is there any copy protection that makes this difficult or impossible? Any particular DVD recorder specs that are required?

I could use another DVD drive and would occasionally burn a data DVD, but being able to make redundant discs of our movies would be the feature that would probably close the deal for me.

I have no first-hand experience with it, but I will chime in just long enough to say that I’m absolutely certain that it can be done, without too much effort. I think even a program like Alcohol 120% will make an exact copy of the disc image.

Yes, but there are a number of issues.

Most off-the-shelf DVDs are dual-layer 9GB discs, so you have to sacrifice the extras on a backup copy, or drop the quality to make the files smaller.

They are copy-protected, as well. DVDXCopy is one of the few commercial apps that will break the protection, but they’re in court over that one. There are numerous freeware apps for ripping DVDs.

For the full scoop on copying DVDs, check out http://www.doom9.org/

I would answer your question but DMCA and the Patriot Act forbid it. :lol:

Ah, but dual-layer DVD-R media and drives should be out in the next few months…

There are several free utilities that will facilitate the process of backing up your DVD library.

DVD XCopy Xpress is a great program for creating backup DVDs.

Reasonably priced, and with a nice easy one-button interface, it’s made the job of making copies of my baby brother’s large DVD collection so that I can ship the cheap copies over to him while he serves with the 101st Airborne in Iraq and he can watch them without worry of what happens to them.

I echo everything DennyA said, especially the Doom9 endorsement. If the contents of a DVD-9 run over 4.5GB you’ll need to recompress the video streams, take out unwanted extras/audio tracks/subtitles, or both.

DVD Shrink is free and, IMO, better. I’ve never had any problems with DVD Shrink 3.0 beta 5 except for instances where the contents have been above 7GB (too much to recompress). In those instances I’ve been learning how to use the “Big 3” (see Doom9 guides for details).

Just to chip in, current generation DVD burners can only burn single layer discs, around 4.7Gb. Since all but the most basic DVD movies are dual layer 9Gb, you’ll either have to drop extras (such as commentaries, trailers etc.) or compress the video further, or possibly both. So basically, study doom9.

Oh and wouldn’t recommend anybody pay money for DVD copying software, lots of it seem to be rip offs of free software.

Any recommendations on what DVD burner to buy? I’m going to buy myself a Christmas present and a DVD burner might be it.

AnandTech has a roundup for the holidays.

I might have bought a Plextor if anyone in my state actually sold it. As it is, my Pioneer DVR-105 serves me well.

With regards to the current 8x range, my vote goes to the LiteOn LDW-118S.

That’s what I own.

Yep. I have the DVR-106 (to replace a DVR-A03 that decided to stop reading CDs), and it’s great.

(Anyone want a DVR-103 that will still read and burn DVDs, but won’t read/burn CDs? $25 + shipping… :-) )