Why Buy Blu-ray Copy Software?
Editor's Note: Some of the products reviewed here allow you to circumvent copy encryptions contained on commercial discs, an act that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) forbids, even for personal use. Top Ten Reviews does not endorse piracy or any other illegal activity. Some consumer advocates are actively seeking exceptions to the act's provision for personal use of copyrighted material purchased by consumers. There's no evidence that any consumer has been prosecuted or sued for circumventing copy protections for personal use.
The top performers in our review are Blue-Cloner 6, the Gold Award winner; Leawo Blu-ray Copy, the Silver Award winner; and CloneBD Blu-ray Copy, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 applications.
Blu-ray discs are currently the pinnacle of home entertainment media – able to deliver your favorite movies and shows in stunning depth and detail. When coupled with high-definition or ultra high-definition television, the Blu-ray experience comes close to or even surpasses what you see in movie theaters.
Even though you can stream or download your shows directly from the internet, having a physical copy is a good idea. You never know when your favorite show will leave Netflix or Hulu. And you can't always rely on your internet connection to deliver your shows with the same high quality found on physical Blu-ray discs. If you want to always have access to your media, Blu-ray is the way to go.
However, like all physical things, Blu-ray discs are prone to damage or loss. Then you have to rebuy your movies or go without them – both are a waste of money. Blu-ray copy software allows you to make physical and digital backup copies of your Blu-ray library. This is great because it means you'll always have access to the movies you paid for.
How It Works
Every commercial Blu-ray disc contains what's called a disc image (or ISO file). Which is essentially the blueprint for a disc. It's what makes a Blu-ray disc a Blu-ray disc and not just a plastic slug. It contains the all of the videos, audio, menus, bonus tracks and file structure needed to play a disc in a Blu-ray player or drive.
Blu-ray copy software scans your discs for its ISO file, extracts it and saves it onto your hard drive. It then burns that file onto a blank disc – making an exact copy, indistinguishable from the original.
And once an ISO file is on your computer, you can use it to burn new copies of your Blu-ray movies without needing the original disc. This is a great option for archiving both your Blu-ray and DVD library. Keep in mind that Blu-ray disc images are massive – anywhere from 25 to 100 GB. Keeping multiple disc images on your hard drive fills it up quickly. If you want to back up your entire movie library, invest in an external hard drive with several terabytes of storage. This is an expensive option but a good one if you want to future-proof your home entertainment collection. We've created informative articles about Blu-ray to Blu-ray copy software to help you fully understand the technology before you make the decision to buy.
Key Attributes of the Best Blu-ray Copy Software Applications
We've evaluated the best Blu-ray copy software on the market today. We used the following criteria to determine where they rank on our side-by-side comparison chart:
This category covers the basic functionality of Blu-ray copy software and how easy each application is to use and how long it takes to burn new copies.
Before any Blu-ray copy software can start duplicating, it must first bypass the anti-piracy encryptions found on nearly every commercial Blu-ray disc. Most of the products in our lineup have this ability. The ones that don't include it are limited to making copies of unencrypted discs. This drastically decreases the application's usefulness.
The best Blu-ray copy software should not only perform disc-to-disc copies, but it should also extract and save a Blu-ray’s disc image to your computer. It should also allow you to burn an extracted ISO file onto a blank disc without needing the original.
All of the products on our lineup are able to create an exact copy of our test Blu-ray disc. So no matter which product you choose, you'll always be able to make exact 1:1 copies of your movies.
Blank Blu-ray discs come in three different sizes: 25GB, 50GB, and 100GB. Each is more expensive than the last. A spindle of 25-GB blank discs costs about $50, while 50-GB and 100-GB versions cost $100 or more. Since most commercial Blu-ray discs are 50GB or 100GB, making exact copies of your Blu-ray library can be an expensive proposition.
The best applications can compress larger commercial discs onto smaller-capacity and less-expensive discs. The ability to shrink down your Blu-rays to fit onto a DVD is also quite useful if you want to watch your movies where no Blu-ray player is available. But since compression often causes quality loss, know that you're not getting all the Blu-ray goodness of the original disc when using this option.
Sometimes you don't want or need everything on a Blu-ray disc. The best Blu-ray copiers don't limit you to making rote copies of your discs. The award-winning programs on our side-by-side comparison chart allow you to pick and choose which content you want to copy and burn onto a new disc. This is a good feature if you only want to copy a single special feature onto its own disc.
One of the most useful tools found in the best Blu-ray copiers is the "Movie Only" option. This option strips away everything on a disc except for the feature presentation. It is a great tool if for fitting a Blu-ray movie onto a smaller blank disc. However, you may lose important features such as menus, chapter selection, subtitles and extra audio tracks.
Another tool worthy is the ability to split the content found on a commercial disc onto two separate blank discs. This is a great tool if you want to burn everything on your Blu-ray discs without having to pay extra cash for high-capacity blank discs.
Help & Support
Each of the programs in our review are relatively straightforward and can be used by anyone regardless of their computer skill. In the rare case you need assistance, you can consult the FAQs section on the software's official website. You'll be able to find the answers to the most common problems there. All of the programs on our lineup offer this resource.
If the FAQs don't have the answer you're looking for, you can email the company. You can usually expect responses within 24 to 72 hours. Some companies offer live chat on their website where you can talk to a customer service representative immediately.
Social media is becoming more popular in the support world. Several of the products we reviewed (or their manufacturers) have official social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, that you can contact for solutions to simple problems.
Blu-ray Copy/Burning Software: What We Tested, What We Found
When we evaluated the best Blu-ray copiers, we subjected each program to a battery of tests to determine which one was the best.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of the average consumer. We purchased each of the applications we reviewed. The software publishers had no input or influence over our testing methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. The results of our evaluation were not provided to manufacturers in advance of publication.
A high-quality copy is essential for any Blu-ray copy program. We used each program in our lineup to make an exact copy of a commercial Blu-ray disc. As part of our tests, we asked video experts to examine the quality of each new disc we created using the application to search for any imperfections, such as pixelation, compression artifact, motion-blur and other defects. All of the products on our lineup make perfect copies with no quality loss whatsoever.
Only one of the programs on our lineup has the ability to compress a commercial Blu-ray to fit onto a smaller-capacity disc or DVD. Again, our video experts watched these compressed copies and concluded that the degradation in picture quality was minimal. However, there were other issues with these features that proved to be inconsistent. If you use Blu-ray copy software for compression, expect to burn a disc or two before you get the results you want.
Because Blu-ray files are so massive, making copies of them is a time-consuming process – especially if you're making a disc-to-disc copy. We found it takes up to five hours to complete a full disc-to-disc copy. Similarly, compressing a Blu-ray movie to fit onto a smaller blank disc can take up to 10 hours. This is true no matter what Blu-ray copy software application you choose.
Once an ISO file is on your computer, the copy process decreases significantly. We found that burning a new copy of a Blu-ray disc from a disc images takes an average of 45 minutes. So if you're going to make multiple discs, you'd be best served to burn from an extracted ISO file rather than make individual disc-to-disc copies.
Copying Blu-ray discs is a technical and often confusing process. The best Blu-ray copy software distills the process down to its simplest form. We evaluated the interface and workflow of each product on our lineup. We tracked how easy it is to begin the copying process, extract disc images, compress content and burn a new disc from an ISO file. We found that all of the products on our lineup generally did a good job of keeping the process simple, but some programs are geared more toward the technically minded, and the casual user may have a bit of a learning curve.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
At the end our analysis, the following Blu-ray copy programs earned the top three spots on our side-by-side comparison chart:
Blue-Cloner 6: Our Gold Award winner, this Blu-ray copy software application by Open Cloner topped our charts for several reasons. First it has a unique two-sided interface: Express and Expert. Express Mode allows you to start the copy process with as little as one click. Expert Mode is where you'll find all the compression and customization options the software offers. Both modes eliminate the guesswork by walking you through the copying process step by step. Anyone can learn and use this software with no problems. It also stands out on our lineup as the only program capable of compressing a commercial disc to fit onto a smaller blank Blu-ray or DVD.
Leawo Blu-ray Copy: Our Silver Award winner, Leawo is an excellent example of an application that makes the sometimes complex Blu-ray copy process as simple as possible. Once a Blu-ray disc is loaded into the interface, it only takes a few clicks to begin the copying process. This program gives you more customization options than most of the applications on our lineup. You can choose to either make an exact copy of a disc or ISO file or make a copy of the feature presentation.
CloneBD Blu-ray Copy: For all intents and purposes, CloneBD Blu-ray Copy, our Bronze Award winner, is the exact same program as Leawo Blu-ray Copy. The only difference between the two is that this program is only a module in the larger CloneBD suite. You can buy the Blu-ray copy module individually or opt to get the whole package that includes conversion and authoring tools as well as the ability to download content from the internet. There are also fewer customer and technical support options with this program – if you think you'll need assistance, go with Leawo.
Making backup copies and archiving your Blu-ray library is a great idea. It ensures that you'll have access to your favorite Blu-ray movies and TV shows long after the original discs have become obsolete. The best Blu-ray copy programs make it easy to extract and burn disc images, customize new discs, and create copies that are identical to the original.