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How to make a DVD back-up

Monsoon's 2.1 PC Speakers Review

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Zalman Theatre 5.1 Headphone Review

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Samsung's CLP300 Colour Laser printer Review

Canon 8400F Photo Scanner Review

Canon Selphy CP510 Photo Printer Review

Windows Vista x86 and x64 versions should we upgrade?

SilverStone GD01MX HTPC Case Review

Corsair Survivor GT 8GB USB Flash Drive Review

Mio P550 Digiwalker
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Recode DVD's to H.264 with AAC 5.1

Guide to Install OS X 'Leopard' on a PC

Guide to install OS X 'Snow Leopard' PC

Kobo eReader Review

Spyder3TV Review

AVerTV Hybrid Volar MAX Review

Review of the Mediasonic Pro Box 4 Bay Enclosure

netTALK Duo Review

Tablets: Android or Windows 8 and what screen size?

Guide for making Back-ups of your DVD movies

When I first wrote this guide (April 22nd 2004) it was based on the tools that were available at the time, a lot of new tools have surfaced making the job much easier so what follows is the new version using the newest tools.

Updated Feb 28th 2006
A new protection has surfaced called 'Arcoos' it appears currently on Sony DVD's and a new tool is needed to bypass this new protection it's called 'AnyDVD' so far it's the only solution and a trial period of 21 days is available but afterwards to continue using it costs $39, it also covers protections based on 'Macrovision RipGuard protection' it detects 'error zones between files' along with 'invalid program from program chain' and bad or incorrect 'DVD structure' errors.The unique thing about using AnyDVD is that you still use all the regular ripping tools! I have a tutorial about using it Here.
I should also point out that older DVD players were finicky when using DVD+R disks but any player mad within the past two years will most-likely have no issue with either choice of DVD-R or DVD+R.

Why Bother with DVD's?

It all started when my MP3 collection hit the 50 CD mark (approx 40gigs of music). I thought Wow, if I bought one of those new DVD-burners I could reduce that to a meager pile of 8 DVD's! So off I went to search the internet for reviews and information to make my purchase I settled on the the Sony DRU500A (paid $699.99) if you don't know the difference between the media DVD+R and DVD-R I'll make it simple, for movies that will playback in most DVD-players choose DVD-R.

A note about 'Chipsets'
Everyone should use Intel chipsets, without getting into deep amounts of detail I was reduced to only being able to burn DVD+R media because of a chipset issue (I fixed it by placing my DVD-burner into an external case that used USB 2.0) also two other individuals that I helped diagnose problems with their burners solved them by switching to intel chipsets (I recently upgraded to an intel chipset).

So naturally after my MP3's were burnt I wanted to back-up some movies that my daughter was starting to wear out. When I attempted to copy the files from the DVD to the computer it flatly refused! After some digging I learned that DVD's are encrypted and only get decrypted by a player or device that has the decrypt keys for playback. Well just great now what do I do? I searched the internet and located a program called DvdXcopy I purchased it, and away I went or not.....

If your movie is a DVD-9 (Dual Layer DVD) you need to use 2 DVD's to copy a movie and you need to switch them in the middle of the movie! That sucked so back to the Internet, there are two main formats they are DVD-5 and DVD-9.

DVD-9 is a single sided dual-layer disk that holds approx 9 gigs of data.
DVD-5 is a single sided one layer disk that holds approx 4.5 gigs of data.

You obviously can't fit a DVD-9 disk on a DVD5-R which accounts for 95% of what's being sold right now, yes DVD9-R disks are available but the cost is still prohibitive. I found the solution a program that strips all the extras, the unneeded language tracks, all unneeded subtitles and hey even that annoying Menu can be ditched to leave you with a movie that fits on 1 DVD-R, it will also start playing the movie without the annoying menu if you so choose!

So how does it reduce the size?
Well once you remove all the junk you didn't need anyway you will be either smaller than you need or just slightly larger, if the movie is still to large then the program will perform a type of compression to reduce the size without much degradation of the image quality. I tried Harry Potter which is rather long, at close to 2.5 hours and compared the results of the back-up to the original, unless you really look you can't see a difference. For comparison use the photos below, the first was saved at the best quality setting which is 100%, the same section was then saved at 80% quality then at 70% and the last save was at 40% quality. If you inspect them all you'll see slight differences but only upon close inspection. Keep in mind the differences are obviously more noticeable at the 40% quality setting. The edges show signs of degradation and some detail is lost as you reduce the save quality, but you'll have to look hard. click on any of the photos to enlarge

Original saved at 100%
Saved at 80%
Saved at 70%
Saved at 40%

So as you can see unless the movie is compressed more than 70% a large difference can't be noticed between the original and the reduced version, if you compress more at 60% or 50% then the quality reduction is more obvious but in most cases acceptable.

Many different software packages will perform the needed compression but won't work with encrypted files (original DVD's) so in order to use the software you need a 'Ripper' to extract the encrypted files before your software will be able to use files. The 'Ripper' of choice is DVD Decrypter and we will be using this tool whenever we encounter the newer DVD titles that use a 'New' protection that causes the other programs to fail when trying to extract the files.

The program we will be using to perform file extraction and to re-author the DVD with compression if required is DVD Shrink both these tools are freeware so download both of them and install them before moving on to the next part of this tutorial.

DVD Shrink Guide >>>


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