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3-49-1] I heard about software that copies DVDs with a CD recorder!


This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (fadden@fadden.com) with numerous contributions by others.

3-49-1] I heard about software that copies DVDs with a CD recorder!


I'm guessing you've also heard of ways to get rich by sending money
to other people, legal ways to get your bad credit history erased, and
drug-free side-effect-free low-cost super cures made from all natural
ingredients on distant tropical islands.

They're all nonsense. I can't help you if you believe in the above, but I
can speak to copying DVDs with a CD recorder. Here's a piece from a message
that was spammed at me (spelling and grammar errors left uncorrected):


With our revolutionary software you can copy virtually any DVD Movie
using your existing equiptment! Conventional DVD copying
equiptment can cost thousands of $$$

Our revolutionary software cost less than the price of 2 DVD Movies!

If you go to the web site, it goes on to say:

Learn How To Burn DVD's onto Regular CD-R Discs and watch your new
movies on Any DVD Player, not just the computer DVD.
No DVD Drive Required!!!

Another, possibly unrelated, site says:

With detailed, easy to follow, step-by-step instructions, you can
BURN your own DVD Video using nothing more than our software and
your CD-R.
o No DVD Burner Required
o Superior Reproduction Quality

It has a link for their "frequently asked questions" document, but you have
to give them your e-mail address to get it. Any company that refuses to
give you information until you submit to their spam list is best avoided.

Let's start with the facts:

(1) You can't read a DVD in a CD-ROM drive. DVD requires a laser at
a different wavelength; the disc has a different physical format;
the disc has a different logical format. A firmware update is
not going to make this work, so don't expect that installing new
software is going to help.
(2) You can't put a full DVD on a CD-R disc. DVD movies are typically
around 8GB, which is roughly 11x as much as you can put on a CD-R.
(3) Many DVD players can't read CD-R discs. This is because of the
different laser wavelength. DVD player manufacturers have found
several ways around this, but many players just can't handle CD-R.
(4) You can't easily duplicate the blocks with the security keys. They
live outside the filesystem area. The only way to get the MPEG
video off in a playable format is to create a copy with the CSS
encryption removed. This requires either stripping the encryption
with software (DeCSS) or hacking the device driver to get the video
after the hardware has decrypted it. Both methods are, as of the
end of 2002, the subject of lawsuits in the USA because of DMCA law,
which makes such things illegal to write, sell, or even use.

Products like "DVD Wizard" and "DVD-Copy 2.1" cannot possibly do all
that they claim. The best they can do is transcode the video into a
lesser format. This requires ripping the MPEG-2 video off the DVD using a
DVD-ROM drive, stripping the encryption, re-encoding the video in MPEG-1,
and writing it to CD-R as a VideoCD. You will be going from 720x480
video recorded at up to 10.08Mbits/sec down to 352x200 video recorded at
1.5Mbits/sec. Instead of Dolby 5.1 you will have low-bit-rate stereo.
On an 80 minute disc, you can store about 80 minutes of MPEG-1 video,
so nearly all movies will require two or more discs.

This software will let you create a movie that could be played back in
computers or *some* DVD players -- not all DVD players support CD-R media,
and not all will play VideoCD -- but at roughly VHS quality, and without
any of the features that make DVDs special. Most notably, you will lose
all of the menus, audio options, and special features. You will not be
burning "DVD Video", and in some parts of the world (most notably the USA)
you will be breaking the law even if the copy is for personal use.

Software that does this sort of thing can be found, for free, on various
sites on the Internet. (Because of the legal issues, it isn't always
available in one place for long.) If you really want low-quality MPEG
editions, save your money and search the web for DVD copiers or converters,
and download the software for free instead of giving money to spammers.
(The previous section has a couple of links that might be useful.)


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