Mac DVD Copy Software Review
How to Choose the Best Mac DVD 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 DVD Cloner for Mac, the Gold Award winner; Any DVD Cloner for Mac, the Silver Award winner; and Tipard DVD Cloner, 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.
Why Buy Mac DVD Copy Software?
DVDs first became popular in the late 1990s, displacing the decades-old VHS technology. Since that time, they've been eclipsed by high-definition options like Blu-ray, download services like iTunes and Amazon Prime, and streaming services like Netflix. Nevertheless, DVDs remain a big part of our home entertainment experience.
When you add up all the cash you've spent on your DVD collection, it comes out to quite a bit of money. And DVDs (really all optical discs for that matter) often get scratched, broken, lost, or loaned out, only never to return. And like all tech in the digital age, DVDs will eventually become obsolete.
Mac DVD copy software offers a great way to protect the investment you've made in your entertainment collection. You can use it to make backup discs, to digitally archive them on a hard drive or even combine multiple DVDs onto a Blu-ray disc. It's great software to ensure you keep your favorite movies and TV shows long after DVDs have gone the way of VHS, cassette tapes and floppy disks.
How It Works
Every DVD contains an ISO file, or ISO image, which basically is a digital blueprint of a disc, complete with the movie, menu, audio track and bonus material. Mac DVD copy software extracts this file, copies it and allows you to either to save it to your hard drive or burn a new copy, which is compatible with any DVD, Blu-ray player or optical drive.
Key Attributes You Should Look For
All commercial DVDs are protected with anti-piracy encryptions. The best DVD copy software for Mac can bypass these protections and allow you to make copies for personal use. Without these decryptors, you can only make copies of unprotected or homemade DVDs, which severely limits the usefulness of the application.
The best Mac DVD copy software can do more than make rote duplicates of discs. Most of the products on our lineup have the ability to archive a disc's raw files (ISO, Video_TS folder) directly to your hard drive. This serves two purposes: First, you can burn new copies of your DVD without needing the original; second, these files can often be used as virtual discs that will play in compatible media players on your computer.
You can buy two types of blank DVDs to burn copies to: DVD-5 and DVD-9. The former has 5GB of storage while the latter has 9GB. Nearly all DVD movies come on DVD-9s. So, if you want an exact 1:1 copy, you'll have to buy the more expensive, harder-to-find, blank DVD-9s. The best Mac DVD copiers have the ability to compress the content on a commercial disc to fit onto a blank DVD-5. Just know that you’ll notice some video quality loss when you choose this option.
There will be times, however, that you don't want to burn a new copy of an entire DVD. The best Mac DVD copy programs allow you to select which parts of a disc you want to burn to a new disc. Most have a preprogrammed option to copy only the feature presentation on a DVD. Others have menus that let you make a personalized disc with only the content you want while yet others allow you to split one commercial disc onto two separate DVD-5s, with the main movie on one disc and the rest of the material on a second disc. All of these options reduce or eliminate the quality loss caused by compression. For more information consult our informative articles about Mac DVD copy software to help you make an informed decision.
DVD Copy Software: What We Tested, What We Found
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 obtained the programs in our comparison by purchasing each of the products on our side-by-side comparison chart. The manufacturer 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 evaluations were not provided to manufacturers in advance of publication.
We subjected each application on our lineup to the following tests to determine which performed the best:
During testing we created multiple copies of a commercial DVD movie using each program on our lineup – some copies were compressed and some were uncompressed. Our video experts inspected the results and compared them against the original disc. They looked for imperfections in the picture such as compression artifact, motion blur and interlacing issues, among others.
When copying a commercial disc to a blank DVD-9, each product on our lineup performed flawlessly. If you go this route, you won’t notice a difference between the original and the duplicate. When it came to the compressed copies, we found that Mac DVD copiers performed better than their Windows counterparts. Our experts assigned a letter grade (A–F; A being the best and F being the worst); no product on our side-by-side comparison chart scored lower than a C. Our experts were hard pressed to find imperfections in the discs made by the top three programs.
Making a copy of a movie generally takes about an hour whether the copy is compressed or uncompressed. The best programs complete the copying process in 45 minutes, while lesser applications take nearly two hours to perform the same task. Additionally, it takes longer to make a compressed copy than an uncompressed one. In any case, expect to devote an hour to each new disc you want to burn.
Making copies of a DVD with a Mac could be a complicated process, especially if you use free software. The products on our lineup simplify this process into just a few clicks. You can usually start the copying a DVD in less than a minute. The best Mac DVD copiers strike that delicate balance between making the program accessible to the novice user while still providing enough extra features and tools to satisfy more advanced users.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
At the end of our analysis, the following products claimed the top spots on our side-by-side comparison chart:
DVD Cloner for Mac – This program and its Windows counterpart have occupied the top spot on our side-by-side comparison charts since we began ranking DVD copy software more than a decade ago. And it's well earned: Both programs make exact copies quickly and easily. The results continue to be the best of any Mac DVD copy software we've evaluated.
Any DVD Cloner for Mac – Another outstanding program. All the copy tools are accessible from the main window of the interface so there's no guesswork. It makes great, but not perfect, compressed copies of your DVD movies. It's missing a few of the advanced features found in our Gold Award winner, DVD Cloner for Mac, but those oversights are forgivable given the overall usefulness of the program.
Tipard DVD Cloner – The Mac version of this software performed far better than its Windows counterpart. Our video experts were only able to find minor imperfections when they examined the compressed videos. Additionally, this program was the easiest to use out of all the applications on our lineup.
Mac DVD copy software provides an excellent way that you can protect your movie library from the decline of the DVD. You can use all these programs to make new discs, back up your favorite movies and archive them so you have access to the movies you've paid for long into the future.