InterVideo DVD Copy is a superbly designed program that lets you back up DVDs and most types of CDs with just a few clicks. It boasts an elegant, easy-to-master interface, a concise but well-chosen feature set, and best of all, sizzling performance. Like Pinnacle's competing InstantCopy application, DVD Copy offers format-translation capabilities that make it easy for anyone who doesn't own a DVD burner to copy DVDs to CDs. Also like its Pinnacle rival, DVD Copy won't back up copy-protected DVDs; only DVD X Copy can make a legal backup copy of a commercial DVD.
Making personal backups of DVDs is a highly controversial topic that is still being tested in the courts. No copy-protection mechanisms were circumvented during our testing, and CNET does not encourage or condone the illegal copying of commercial DVDs.
DVD Copy's interface is straightforward, flexible, and unambiguous. Nearly all of its features can be accessed from a single, easy-to-understand screen that organizes most copy jobs into an intuitive, three-step procedure.
DVD Copy's three-step main screen lets you set up most disc-copying jobs simply by specifying a source, a target, and an output format.
You begin by choosing source and target devices and selecting an output format. The program analyzes your selections and reports the number of pieces of blank media you'll need. You can easily change the media count by changing the source, target, or output medium. In most cases, DVD Copy will automatically configure its copy settings to burn as quickly as possible, but two buttons, Properties and Customize, let you fine-tune to your preference. These buttons offer fewer choices than Pinnacle InstantCopy's extensive Details section, but what's there is useful--and less intimidating to newbies. Once you have everything in place, you simply click the Start Burning button to begin copying.
DVD Copy is designed to back up DVDs, but it can also duplicate CD-Audio and CD-ROM titles. The program can copy DVD movies to VCD (VideoCD), SVCD (Super VideoCD), and DivX CDs. It can also rip a DVD to an image folder stored on your hard drive and subsequently burn discs from saved images. DVD Copy won't duplicate copy-protected DVDs. It also knows which types of output are legal for any given source and won't, for instance, let you try to copy an audio CD to a DVD. But like most other disc-copying packages, it has no compunctions about burning a cracked disc image that was created with third-party freeware.
DVD Copy's Customization features let you preview each movie chapter and delete unwanted content to save space.
DVD Copy can't read or create compressed ISO disc-image files (a common type of file used to exchange video content on the Internet), but it easily handles the more common type of ripped DVD image--multiple files stored in a video_ts folder. The program also boasts the unique ability to combine several such folders into one job. This lets you rip multiple movies to your hard drive one at a time, then burn them together as a single title.
Whenever necessary, DVD Copy compresses DVD-Video content written to CD or to a single piece of DVD media, automatically deciding how much compression is needed to produce the best-looking results. It can also generate a perfect uncompressed (1:1) copy of any disc that's small enough to fit on one DVD, and it can back up a dual-layer disc without compression by splitting it between two pieces of DVD media. In the latter case, all menus and navigational controls are copied to both discs.
The "Fit to one disc" function automatically squeezes your output onto a single piece of blank media with optimal video quality. Unchecking this box allows a DVD-Video source to be copied to multiple DVD blanks without compression.
DVD Copy's modest selection of optional features let you set a few easy-to-understand parameters such as the size of your blank media and the name of your output disc. The program's Customization panel lets you preview each movie chapter and omit any that you don't want to copy. This step can save you some disc space, but editing is limited: you can't remove subtitles or extra audio tracks, nor can you modify navigational restrictions that prevent viewers from performing functions such as fast-forwarding past an FBI warning screen.
DVD Copy could be the fastest DVD-copying program we've tested, thanks to a sophisticated burning methodology that creates direct disc-to-disc copies in a single pass without buffering content to the hard drive (assuming that you're copying between media in different drives).