Decrypt DVD and Blu-ray Content

very good
key review info
application features
  • Remove DVD protection
  • (4 more, see all...)

Although bordering legal barriers, removing DVD protection is what users appeal to when they want to backup their legally owned content in order to save it before the disc degrades beyond recovery. DVDFab Passkey is fit exactly for this job as its purpose is just to scan the disc for the type of protection, and remove it in order to allow copying to a new media.

The application is actually a driver that comes into play as soon as a DVD or Blu-ray disc is inserted in the drive. It removes the protection of encrypted media on the fly, showing the progress of the analysis in the lower right part of the desktop. When this is complete you can start your DVD or Blu-ray copying software to duplicate the content.

Regarding the price of the program, the current price tag has nothing written on it because of the beta stage of development. Nonetheless, the free ride ends once the app reaches its final stage, which is January 8, 2011. Until then you benefit from all the features of the full version for free.

DVDFab Passkey sports no interface, other than the configuration panel. It starts automatically and acts according to your settings. However, this screen features a Info panel which provides details on the inserted media and protections types that have been successfully removed by the application or the instances it failed to do its job.

The list of details includes disc type and region, assigned name, video standard used, layer sizes and the pile of protection types, complete with the result of the scan. As the only true impediment in DVDFab Passkey doing its job is the copy protection guarding the content you're trying to duplicate, the developer offers quite extensive support in this sense. The list comprises CSS, CPRM, CPPM, RC, RCE, APS, UOPs, ARccOS, RipGuard, FluxDVD, CORE X2 for DVD, while Blu-ray protections available include AACS, BD+, Region Code, BD-Live and UOPs. It is worth mentioning that this is more than a regular ripper can generally deal with.

Making the configuration settings is not a complicated task, especially if you have some knowledge on how disc the copy protection works. On the downside, there isn't a documentation file on board of the program to help beginners find their way easily.

General settings put at your disposal options like starting the app with Windows, automatic checking for a new version or DMA. Also, it can alert you audibly upon a successful or ineffective job (you can customize these sounds with your own WAV files).

The core of the Settings panel is under DVD and Blu-ray menus, which shelter the types of protection you want DVDFab Passkey to remove. Depending on the discs you use on an ordinary basis, you can enable only certain decryption standards. This action also leads to a quicker scan.

In the case of DVDs, there is the possibility to enable or disable PathPlayer - a scanner that identifies content playable on a regular DVD player - and adjust it here and there for optimum behavior. This refers to customizing BOV (button over video) scanning. Particularly interesting are the navigation choices in this menu, which allow you to change DVD playback order or remove PGCs (Program Chains).

DVDFab Passkey can also be used to change the region settings for popular Blu-ray players like PowerDVD or WinDVD. The player is automatically detected by the application and shows the current region code and the number of changes left.

We encountered almost no problems during our testing and the program managed to decrypt just about anything we fed it. The success of the testing was greatly due to the fact that we used only discs with copy protection DVDFab Passkey supported.

However, the snag we ran into involves the PGC removal. In our case it made no difference if we let this enabled or disabled as they would still appear when playing the DVD-video.

Once set up, DVDFab Passkey runs by itself. Although it is easy to handle, the lack of a help file of its own may draw beginner users away from it. The application is not rich in options compared to competition and still has plenty of ground to cover, but it does a good job with the slightest effort from the user.

The Good

The application is free of charge while it is in beta stage, and the final version is planned to roll out as soon as January 8, 2011, so there is still plenty of time to enjoy its advantages.

It runs its copy protection removal routines by itself, with no intervention from the user. You can change settings for Blu-ray players like WinDVD or PowerDVD. Region code can be removed for both DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

The Bad

In our case enabling or disabling the PGC removal option made no difference. Compared to what similar programs have to offer, DVDFab Passkey lags behind in terms of options and features.

The Truth

As a free program DVDFab Passkey offers a lot and functions great. However, once the final version hits it will come with a price tag attached and all the current features and options will be compared to what competitors offer. Other than this, the application is simple and does an awesome job if it runs into supported copy protection types.

NOTE: Softpedia does not condone or encourage any illicit activity conducted with the use of such software. Programs of this kind have been developed with the sole purpose of backing up personal legal disc copies without infringing copyright.

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user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good

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