It's a Kind of Magic

key review info
application features
  • Convert DVD to DivX or other AVI formats
  • (5 more, see all...)

DVDs are a constant aspect of our life right now. We use them for different activities, most of them entertain-ent related. But computer users also saw in them a larger storage device and store all sort of data on them, from music files and small videos to pictures and software kits. With their size they can be used even for creating a customized copy of your Windows with Setup Studio.

But their main purpose is providing the users with the best image quality. Thus they are the best storage device for DVD video files and the quality of the movies is absolutely fantastic. But as they say, "all good things don't last forever" and sometimes you may have to create backups of the DVDs with your favorite movies. And nothing must be lost during this operation. This means that you need an application that is able to perform a 1:1 backup of your DVD video.

Many softwares on the market today have specialized in performing such activities and most of them are seriously cutting down the quality during the backup operation as they are shrinking the original DVD9 into a poor DVD5 file. But Magic DVD Ripper seems to have learned from the mistakes of the others and does not give up anything from what is on the DVD.

At a first look the software does not have any feature that other similar applications have not yet incorporated. It can copy the DVD video you have and even split a DVD9. The good thing is that when copying the DVD9 to the HDD the application will not shrink it in any way thus preserving the quality of the original.

Selecting only some parts of the movie is also available and the user can decide which subtitles, audio files and features to preserve. When choosing to compress the DVD9 into a DVD5 one you will also get a clue on the quality that is lost. In our case we used a DVD9 and when choosing to compress on a single layer disc the quality dropped from 100% to 56%. The movie was about 8GB large, otherwise I am sure that the quality would have been cut in half.

The copying of a DVD9 was done faster then the similar softwares I have reviewed up to now. The application took only 28'18'' to copy the movie with all the features and bonuses it contained. The difference is not extremely significant as all the other applications took about a minute longer to complete the task, but I think this information was worth mentioning.

The second part of the program is dedicated to converting the DVD to other formats. The application can help you convert the movies from a DVD file into several popular formats like AVI, VCD, SVCD, WMV, iPod, PSP or MPEG2. The best part is that you can select the titles you want to convert and the audio files and subtitles to add.

One piece of advice: in order to perform an AVI conversion make sure that you have installed DivX codec on your computer. Of course, you can choose any other codec to perform the operation, but the Magic DVD Ripper recommends DivX. In order to configure the codec you have to go to the Settings menu and configure the conversion parameters for the desired file type. Magic DVD Ripper is also equipped with a bitrate calculator for calculating the bitrate of an AVI file.

The time for performing a conversion will be longer than for copying the DVD on the HDD. I do not know if the burning took longer or not because I could not write the movie saved on the HDD to the disc. The application displayed an error message saying it could not create the DVD directory. At first I thought that it was because I was using DVD-RW discs. Unfortunately with DVD-R discs the result was the same.

The Good

The application worked fine when copying the DVD to HDD and converting the titles into the different supported formats. The skins allow the user to change the aspect of the software and make it Mac OS like or MSN like.

The user can convert the DVD file into iPod and PSP video formats (mp4).

I liked that instead of choosing the prority of the process from Task Manager the user can simply go into the Options menu of Magic DVD Ripper and set it from there. This way you can use the computer for other tasks also or give the application the highest priority.

The Bad

The burning function did not work no matter what I did. I fully erased two DV-RWs and I even tried with two different brands of blank discs. The same error message appeared every time.

The Truth

If all the options had worked it would have been worth the money. Unfortunately, the burning option refused to work.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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

final rating 3
Editor's review
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