PROS / This application can copy DVDs in less than half an hour.
CONS / The features found in the bundled applications are limited at best.
VERDICT / This program's simplicity, utility and high-quality results earn it the top spot in our review.
Editor’s Note: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) forbids circumventing copy encryptions contained on commercial discs. The DMCA makes no exceptions for circumventing these encryptions for personal use. Top Ten Reviews does not endorse piracy or any other illegal activity.
DVD Cloner is a powerful application that earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for DVD copy software. It has the ability to create perfect 1:1 copies of DVD movies. It can also compress commercial films to fit onto smaller blank discs as well as combine multiple DVD movies onto a single Blu-ray disc. It does all this and more with a degree of ease and quality that is simply unmatched by any other DVD copy software we reviewed.
This DVD copy software operates in two separate modules: Express and Expert. Express is meant as a one-click option that allows you to duplicate a DVD movie without having to hassle with the technical details of the burn. All you need to do is load the disc you want to copy into your optical drive and click the Start button. Within half an hour you will have a copy of that disc that will work in any DVD player. The simplicity of this mode is one of DVD Cloner’s defining characteristics and arguably its most compelling selling point.
Expert mode is where DVD Cloner allows you to fine-tune your copy by offering several different options. For example, most commercial movie discs won’t fit onto the average blank DVD. To solve this problem you can select the DVD-9 to DVD-5 copy option, which compresses the content found on a commercial disc and burns it onto the blank disc with less storage capacity. This option is not a 1:1 copy, but the copy is still high quality. If you spring for the more expensive DVD-9 (or DVD-DL) discs, this DVD copy software also has the ability to make an exact copy of any commercial disc you are likely to have on your shelf.
There is also the scenario where you don’t have a DVD-9 but you also don’t want to compress your copy. DVD Cloner has the ability to split the larger commercial discs onto two separate smaller discs. This way you can retain all the quality and features of your commercial discs without having to spring for the more expensive dual-layer blank discs.
This DVD copy software also allows you to customize what content you want to copy from disc to disc. For example, if you just want to copy the main movie from a DVD and eschew things like special features, trailers and menus, all you have to do is select the movie-only option from the Expert mode menu. This will strip all the extras away and give you just the main movie on the disc. This option is also the default setting in Express mode.
The Movie Customized Copy option in Expert mode allows you to pick and choose precisely what content you want to transfer to a new disc. So if you want the movie plus the trailers but not the special features, you just select those features from the menu and burn them to a new disc. You can mix and match the content and create any new disc you would like.
This DVD copy software also allows you to burn disc image files onto a new disc. For example, if you have backed up the ISO file of a disc onto your hard drive and the original disc was lost or damaged, all you would need to do is put a new blank disc in your optical drive, select the Copy DVD Movie From Hard Disk option, select the ISO file you wish to burn and press Start. It’s a very simple process that doesn’t require you to have the original disc.
A new feature in this iteration of DVD Cloner is the ability to combine multiple DVD movies onto a single Blu-ray disc. For example, you have a series of movies on DVD that you want to watch in a binge marathon, but you don’t want to hassle with changing the disc out every two hours. Simply burn the movies onto a single Blu-ray disc and you’ll have a single disc that you can watch all your movies on without interruption.
Almost all the DVDs that you will want to back up will have some form of copy protection or encryption. DVD Cloner has the ability to bypass all CSS encryptions and region codes. However, the About screen of the software clearly states that “It’s against the law to make illegal copes of any copyrighted material, and you are on your own in dealing with any legal issue [sic]. You have been warned!!”
This DVD copy software comes bundled with two other free applications. They are Stream Cloner Lite and Open DVD Ripper 3 Lite. The former allows you to capture streaming content from the internet and save it onto your computer. The latter enables you to rip movies off DVDs and convert them into a format that is playable on your computer. These applications are useful but don’t provide the same diverse feature sets that are found in their non-lite counterparts.
Quality of Copy
The quality of the copy produced by DVD Cloner is generally excellent. The 1:1 copy option produces a disc that is indistinguishable from the original. The compressed copies are of noticeably reduced quality from the original, but they are still crisp, clear and enjoyable.
Over the years, Open Cloner has refined DVD Cloner into a very stable and secure application that rarely, if ever, crashes. In our tests, we created half a dozen new discs and the application never hesitated or unexpectedly quit.
Ease of Use
The interface and feature set of DVD Cloner is accessible to even the most novice user. It only takes a few clicks and a few minutes to make a copy of any DVD you own. There is absolutely no guesswork involved.
Ease of Installation
Getting this software on your computer is quite simple. Simply download the application from DVD Cloner’s website or install it from the installation disc. The install wizard is simple to follow; the whole process takes less than three minutes.
DVD Cloner claimed the top spot in our review of the best DVD copy software because it is simple, powerful and feature rich. It creates exact 1:1 copies of your favorite DVD movies without any of the technical hassle of lesser applications. It also allows you to create a single anthology Blu-ray disc out of several different DVD movies.