By Terry Currier
From 321 Studios DVD X Copy helps you make backups of your DVD discs for personal use. That is the key, this is not for making copies of your movies to give to friends. To 321 Studios credit they make it clear they do not support the illegal coping of DVDs. Just starting the program a box comes up reminding you to respect the rights of copyright holder, and you have to click on the I Agree button. Next a box pops up to ask you if the DVD is a rental or borrowed copy. 321 Studios does a very good job of keeping their program updated.
Why use it? Well as shown on a survey from their web site most of the owners DVDs get destroyed from kids or pets. Now there are portable DVD players that you can carry anywhere. They even have them put into the mini vans which saves the parents sanity of ďare we there yet?Ē The point is if you brought a DVD and like it a lot, you really should not risk damaging or losing it on trips. This goes at home also, if kids are going to be handling the disk. Make a copy of the disk and have them use those. Especially the ones that they want to play a 100 times. Itís your money protect your investment.
The opening for copying will show you the title and size. A typical movie is around 110 minutes and takes over the 4.7Gb size of a DVD. The creators of the movie use compression to make it fit on one disk. DVD X Copy can not and will take two disks. It will automatically selects where to break the movie up, or you can select the place. Once started everything is automatic it reads the movie and prepares it for copying. While it is preparing the DVD you can still work on the computer. However, while it is burning they do recommend you not do anything else. 321 Studios no longer even sells this on their website, but some stores still do.
Paying a little extra for the DVD X Copy Xpress is well
worth it. There are two great things about it.
First it does a great job of putting the movie onto one DVD disk. Generally a movie will be around two hours. That movie will be over 7Gb in volume. DVD X Copy Xpress really does put all of that onto a 4.7Gb disk. From the options you can choose the audio language, subtitles and the temp path. DVDís sometimes have more than just English on them. For example my ďThe HoursĒ has English and French on it. If you donít need the subtitles, why copy them? The temp path is where it will copy the movie to before writing it to the DVD disk. I put it on my E drive because there is plenty of room. Choose to cut out the other languages and subtitles if you donít need them this insures you can make it fit on one disk (with less compression.) You can also choose the video formation of full screen or widescreen. You can of course just check the entire disk box and it will copy it all.
Something I did find out about NOT copying the entire disk was the loss of chapters. When you put in a movie normally it will be broken up into different scenes or chapters. You can then click on that point in the movie to have it start there. But, when I did not copy the entire disk it also does not copy those break points. So if I wanted to start the movie at as certain point I have to fast forward it. Not a big deal, but you should be aware of that. One more thing is not copying the entire disk is much faster. Up to 1/3 faster since it does not have to read and copy everything.
The second great thing about Xpress is that it no longer says to not do anything on the computer while it is in use. That includes while it is burning. Be warned though the computer will run much slower. If you bring up Microsoft Word after starting the process, you might as well go and get something to read while waiting. It will take about five minutes to startup another program but, you can do that. The best advice is to bring it up before you start the process. Word processing I especially had no problems with doing while it read, and burned the disk.
Recommended computer requirements:
What I have is a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 768Mb of RAM. My E drive has 36Gb of space left after I partitioned it. My DVD burner is a CenDyne external drive with dual capabilities of the +or- disk. This works well since I have a DVD drive in the computer I can have it read the DVD and it will automatically start the burn after the reading is done. For connection it can use USB or Firewire. So far I like it because it is fast. I would not recommend it though since they just went out of business.
Two other versions from 321 Studios are -
DVD X Copy GOLD has the ease of use of DVD X Copy Xpress with extras. It lets you burn your entire DVD Ė including menus, trailers and special effects Ė to a single disc with high quality. It uses advanced compression technology, and you can specify which special feature of the movie to keep or remove.
Their top of the line is DVD X Copy Platinum, it does everything and adds brand-new TDF backup technology. This allows complete customization and control over the movie backup. TDF allows for scene by scene control over compression. The coolest thing about it is the chapter preview feature. You can actually preview it and choose whether or not to back that portion up. I do really like this ability to leave out the trailers the companies put on. I am also still able to play and select chapters using this method. However you can not choose to leave off subtitles.
The simple button goes into Xpress Copy for a simple straight copy of the entire disk. They include DVD X Rescue as a bonus. It can help you restore virtually any damaged, scratched or unreadable disc caused by common everyday use and burns it onto a new DVD or CD.
To let you know everything about it, I do use the Platinum version. However upon installing it, my anti-virus program said there was a virus. I notified 321 Studios about it, and they responded that there was no virus, it was simply the encryption they use. After rescanning it directly from Pandasoft and Trend Micro both of said there was no virus. In fact Trend Micro provides the anti-virus definitions for the Ontrack System Suite which I use. So there is something with the suite that does not understand it. So I turn off the anti-virus checking when I use DVD X Copy Platinum. Prices below are rounded up - one cent.
DVD X Copy Xpress is $60
DVD X Copy GOLD is $100
DVD X Copy Platinum is $120
Note - 321 Studios is closed down. Yet I still see the program being sold at computer swap meets. To make it work you must authenticate it upon installation. Of course if they are not there you can not do that. I have heard there are hacks for doing that. I suggest for you late buyers to go to google.com and look for them.
Winners is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is an international, platform-independent, nonprofit corporation (incorporated in Washington, DC) devoted to helping user groups throughout the world. Almost 400 user groups are members of APCUG. http://www.apcug.net/