Price (RRP): $99 (US$)
DVDneXtCOPY was seen as the saviour of those wanting to duplicate their DVDs. Sadly, depending upon your point of view, the US Department of Justice saw otherwise and had the program banned. Now it’s back with a different owner says David Neiger.
With the proliferation of DVD camcorders and recorders, there is a legitimate need to copy your own DVDs for clients, family and friends. Software suites such as Nero 6 and 7 allow copying of unprotected DVDs (ie. those that you author yourself) but are limited to copying entire discs unless you went to the bother of extracting specific titles and reauthoring the disc.
Other DVD copying software, acquired from dubious sources over the internet, is designed for the illegal copying of DVD movies. If the stuff works and doesn’t infect your computer with viruses or spyware, well and good, but we wouldn’t take the risk.
Only available online
DVDneXtCOPY claims to have been designed to only copy unprotected DVDs to your hard disk for watching on your PC, distribution over a network or to make copies. The software is only available online which means that you must be comfortable with providing your credit card details to a company that only operates from a website. Although we’ve been in contact with the CEO via email, we do not have any physical address nor telephone details for the company. Purchase at your own risk!
Having been provided with a copy of the software and a licence key, we found installation and setup to be very easy. The first step involves creating a DVD project which is essentially a folder on the hard disk where you store the DVD. Be aware that with double-layer DVDs, each folder can take up to 8.5GB of space so you will need a large disk to store multiple projects.
The next stage involves selecting what you wish to copy; the entire DVD, the main movie or specific elements. The inbuilt preview screen allows you to view each track, leading us to believe that it is possible to copy only specific tracks by selecting the appropriate check boxes. This would be very useful as you would be able to select which scenes from your DVD camcorder to copy, leaving bloopers and inappropriate material safely on the original disc.
Unfortunately this is not the case! Although the software appears to work when you attempt to copy specific tracks, you can create some very ‘unusual’ DVDs that don’t play in computers, lock up a DVD player, misbehave with menus and display the picture minus the sound. An email from DVDneXtCOPYÂ support claims this could be due to the media, DVD player or authoring of the original disc although this seems unlikely given the discs were authored using Sony DVD Architect or a Panasonic DVD recorder with quality TDK, Verbatim or Sony media.
It’s a pity that the partial copy function does not work since this is the main reason why you would spend $US99 on this software rather than $US69 on Nero 7. True, if you want to copy entire DVDs or compress dual-layer DVDs down to single-layer DVDs, DVDneXtCOPY is an option, albeit an expensive one.
Admittedly we became a little suspicious when we discovered the software has a function to remove DVD region protection and the DVDneXtCOPY website has a link to where you can download the Machinist2.dll plugin that suddenly allows the software to copy anything. A bit suspect?
It is just as well the software is so easy to use because the online help system does not exist. All you get is a link to the DVDneXtCOPYÂ Website where you can view tutorials and FAQs. The downloadable manual is not much better as it is several versions old and merely has pictures of each screen with little explanation.
Unless you want to engage in illegal activities, you would be better off choosing Nero 7 which is much better supported and documented, or saving money and trying the freeware ShrinkTo5 Basic. At least with Shrinkto5 Basic you pay nothing and probably get what you pay for.