Guest Column: Copying DVDs

Guest Column: Copying DVDs

By Richard Heller

More than likely, if you have kids, you also have some DVDs from that mouse company. And, if your kids are like most kids, the same movie gets played eight hours a day seven days a week. Since the price of these disks are $20 or more, they are quite an expensive and fragile toy.

But now a company named 3-2-1 Studios has decided to introduce two new software products to help you protect your DVD investment.

The first product is named DVD Copy Plus, and it will enable you to create copies of the DVDs that you own. Rather than requiring you to have a DVD recorder, this program will make a video CD (VCD) using standard 10 cent CDs and your CD recorder. The program will compress and split the video so it will fit on the necessary number of disks depending on the length of the movie.

The software will allow you to create a VCD in any language that the DVD supports like Spanish or French, and it will also support different video formats such as wide screen. There is also support for special features bonus tracks and movie trailers.

The CDs that it creates can be played back on most DVD players, including portables and your multimedia PC. The copies are crisp and clear and actually look better than videotape.

The software package also includes DVD PhotoPro that enables you to edit photos and images, provides a CD Burning Software Suite that lets you copy almost any CD including those for game systems, and has a ThreeFifteen Juke Box Lite, a Windows music player utility.

The software is designed to let you make back-ups of the DVDs and disks that you own; it is not meant to be used to copy rented DVDs or games. If you are worried about damaging the disks that you legally own, than the

program is worth the $50, or about the cost of a carton of cigarettes.

The same company has also released DVD X Copy and retails for $100. Whereas the first program reads a DVD and creates video CDs, this program will create an exact DVD copy of an original DVD. If the DVD is larger than 4.7GB, it will split the movie so that it will fit on two DVDs. A DVD recorder is a necessity for this program to be used, so plan on spending at least another $200. The prices on DVD blanks are down to $2 each. Both of these programs will require time to read the DVD and re-encode it so that it is compatible. The processing time will vary depending on the speed of the PC the program is being run on.

3-2-1 Studios has filed a lawsuit against the movie industry in an attempt to prevent them from taking action to prevent the sale of these programs. They are challenging the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law that is so broad that, if fully enforced, would prevent audio or video recordings of any kind.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail

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