Comparison of Cinavia Removal programs

The subject of Cinavia removal has once more come to the fore here at MyCE, and somehow I have been roped into…er…volunteered to examine the three main choices on the market today.

For those who may not be familiar with Cinavia, it is a digital rights management tool in the form of an audio watermark, placed in commercial movies. First seen in Blu-ray, Cinavia is now found on an increasing number of DVD’s as well. Cinavia does not prevent making copies of the movie, but when played on a device that recognizes the signal embedded in the movie’s audio stream, it will cause the audio to be muted after approximately twenty minutes of play. Cinavia has been made an official part of the Blu-ray DRM specifications, and detection of the signal is required on all Blu-ray players that have been released to market since February of 2012.

Not all Blu-ray movies have Cinavia, in fact, only a small percentage of them have it. This is because Cinavia is not required for use by the studios, no, its simply an option they can use in controlling their content. Cinavia can be a nuisance however, for those who wish to play their movies from backup discs in Blu-ray players or in authorized software players.

The three programs I will be examining are DVDFab, CloneBD (in combination with AnyDVD HD) and CinEx HD. Long time members here will be very familiar with these three programs, though perhaps not that many use all of them for Cinavia removal. All of these are commercial programs, with some limited free usage in trial modes.

Looking through my Blu-ray collection, I found two movies that have Cinavia that we will be using in the tests. They are Kick-Ass 2 (which I was forced to buy in my first review of DVDFab’s Cinavia removal) and Pitch Perfect 2. Sue me, I like Anna Kendrick. My version of Kick-Ass 2 has a DVD as well as the Blu-ray, and it will come into play with one of the programs for Cinavia removal.

Testing for the presence of Cinavia is done with a program from the makers of CinEx HD. It is free to use and is called CinDe, which I have to assume stands for Cinavia detection. CinDe is quite easy to install, and allows you to right click on a file and check for Cinavia quickly. I also use PowerDVD 13 to check for Cinavia, since I can see the warning message within it when the audio is muted.

Here is an example of what you see when using CinDe:

It should be noted that both movies are positively identified as having Cinavia, and all three programs that we will be examining successfully removed Cinavia detection in the copies that they made.

The first program we will consider is CloneBD ( Trial Version). This program does not remove Cinavia by itself, and in fact, has no decryption capability at all. It must be used with unencrypted video at all times, and in regard to Cinavia, it must be used in combination with AnyDVD HD, since the actual removal of the Cinavia signal is supposed to be done by AnyDVD HD. There is a setting within the program options in AnyDVD HD that must be selected and saved to enable the removal of Cinavia in combination with CloneBD.

These facts lead to some issues for users, since they are forced to buy two different programs in order to remove Cinavia. Add to this the recent changes in fortune for Slysoft, and you have many people who had lifetime licenses for AnyDVD HD now having to buy a subscription to the new Redfox version of AnyDVD HD. This is hardly an incentive to buy into this combination.

Below you will see a screenshot of CloneBD in action:

In order to remove Cinavia from the original audio with CloneBD, you must convert the HD audio to AC3. I could find nothing within CloneBD that indicated that my movie had Cinavia, nor are there instructions stating how to remove Cinavia. Did I simply miss them somewhere, or have they gotten so gun shy, they won’t include those instructions?

CloneBD’s main function is to compress movies to fit smaller sizes, or change formats to MKV or MP4. Cinavia removal is an added feature, not their primary focus. Once you select AC3 as the audio output, it will work to get rid of Cinavia, but at a cost to the audio quality.

MyCE is not really set up for hosting large files, or any type of audio, so examples from the programs being tested will be found at Dropbox links. And fair warning, the clips will be permanently deleted soon, so if you want to hear the examples, get them within the next week.

This first link is to the entire folder of audio samples. Be aware that the original clips are fairly large, and the .wav file from DVDFab is also in the 32mb range. Each clip is taken from the same section of the two movies, very close to the start of the films, and each is about a minute in length. You don’t have to download the entire folder, each clip is available as a separate file.

(Links Removed)

Now we examine an individual sample from CloneBD. (Link removed) is from Pitch Perfect 2, and you can hear the odd echoing/hollow sound produced by their process. Also, the beat of the music is uneven, and pretty much ruins the sound. The uneven beat is also very apparent in the Kick-Ass sound clip.

This seems very similar to early attempts to defeat Cinavia, and though conversations are perfectly intelligible, when compared directly to the original sound, you can get a good idea of just how different the output from CloneBD/AnyDVD HD really is.

On the plus side of the equation for CloneBD, you are not required to download anything from the net in order to remove Cinavia, unlike the other two programs. And CloneBD can accept input as Blu-ray folders, or an ISO as well as straight from a Blu-ray disc. But I have to think that the strengths of the program lie in its video conversion capabilities, rather than Cinavia removal.

CloneBD’s regular price at the Elby site is €99.00 for the lifetime version.

Now on to the second program, which is CinEx HD ( Its been some time since I last examined a program from these developers, and the look and function of this program surprised me somewhat. CinEx HD is set up to remove Cinavia, and does not compress or convert video. It will take Blu-ray as input of course, but it will also accept video files or DVD-video as well, and in this it is a step ahead of its competitors.

There are two methods of removing Cinavia within the program, but we will not be looking at SoundTouch2 here, only the process using the downloaded databases. Here is a screenshot of the program:

Once I installed the program, the very first thing I did was update the database file list. This let me search for the two titles I was working with, and I was pleased to see that they included one for the DVD version of Kick-Ass 2. One note about the database. They are arranged by some internal numbering system whose purpose escapes me. Scrolling through, looking for your particular movie is not fun, and this will get worse as the database files increase in number. An alphabetical arrangement option is something that I would advise.

Once you find the right database and download it, it becomes much easier to find again, as you can right click on the list of files and show only those that are installed, and there are other options, like showing only the DVD’s.

Using the program is relatively simple. Set your input and output, select the option to use the database, find your matching database and download it. This took less than four minutes on my relatively slow 6mbps connection. Then find the database again once its downloaded, and highlight it. Now you can click on Start.

Processing the movie takes more time, but less than the conversion/compression seen by the other programs we’re testing today. The only movie I remembered to keep track of the time while using CinEx HD was the Kick-Ass 2 DVD, and it took approximately 25 minutes. There is no indication of processing time in the program itself.

As a side note, I tested a home-made MKV file that had Cinavia still. Processing through CinEx HD resulted in a Cinavia-free version that sounded good and had good sync with the video. Since the other programs do not have this capability, I did not include examples of this audio. I also made a copy of the Kick-Ass DVD without Cinavia, and this worked well also.

Overall, I had no problems working with CinEx HD, and the audio is perfectly acceptable for most people, as you can tell from (link removed) from Pitch Perfect 2. CinEx HD converts to AC3 format.

If there is one weakness, it would have to be the lack of a decrypter within the program. Using CinEx HD on encrypted discs means you must either rip to the hard drive first with another program, or you must use AnyDVD HD or DVD Passkey in the background.

The online purchase price of the program was $39.99 when I checked.

Finally we come to the third program in this comparison, DVDFab ( In order to delete the Cinavia signal with DVDFab, you must purchase either the Blu-ray Copy or the Ripper section of this program, and also purchase the Cinavia module. This will be over $100 even with one of the numerous 20% off coupons that Fab advertises.

Fab will detect Cinavia in your disc as it is decrypted. This is the message displayed:

As far as I am aware, DVDFab will only work with Blu-ray, not video files or DVD’s. It will accept ISO images, but for some reason, I could not see the Cinavia warning or symbol in DVDFab when I loaded an ISO. The output from both the ISO and the disc had Cinavia deleted, so it apparently works from either input. However, the last I heard, they still recommend working from the original disc instead of anything else. If someone has more to add on that subject, feel free.

Here is a screenshot of DVDFab after it has finished with a copy of Kick-Ass 2. You’ll see the time it takes to download the “required files” and process the movie on the left side of the picture:

Downloading the necessary audio files took twenty six minutes on my slow connection, and compressing the movie to fit a 25gb disc only took twenty three. The default encoding settings in Fab are extremely fast compared to what I normally do, but I am very much biased in favor of higher video quality.

One very big difference in the output from DVDFab is the use of LPCM audio. I’m not certain why they use this format instead of AC3. The size of the audio stream in the final Blu-ray is larger than the amount of data sent online. So, they must be using a different format for transmission, then converting to LPCM. One of the other admins here at MyCE suggested FLAC as a possible format, and it seemed to fit the size of the download reasonably well for the length in time of the Kick-Ass 2 movie. LPCM would retain higher quality audio and still be compatible for Blu-ray specifications if the “necessary files” that you download contain a lossless codec like FLAC.

This assumes that DVDFab is replacing the audio, rather than processing it in your computer of course. But I can’t see Fab being able to compress a movie and remove Cinavia signals in my i5 3570k in the space of 23 minutes.

In any case, the audio produced by Fab is quite good. Certainly good enough for the majority of users. There are two examples in the Audio Folder linked previously.

Both DVDFab and CloneBD will output to different formats, and I made copies of Pitch Perfect 2 in MKV files instead of Blu-ray. Both programs produced the format with no problems, and in this case, DVDFab used AC3 audio, rather than the LPCM seen in the Blu-ray copy. I’m certain that I could have gotten AAC instead, especially if I’d wanted an MP4 file.

What kind of conclusions can we make from this comparison? First of all, I think you have to look at CinEx HD as a different type of program from the other two. Its primary function is removal of Cinavia. DVDFab and CloneBD have many different uses, and if you want to pay for a conversion program, either can work for you. Fab also offers built-in decryption, which should not be downplayed. You’ll pay for decryption either built-in or in a second program, unless you choose to rip with MakeMKV.

A second conclusion is that CloneBD/AnyDVD HD simply don’t measure up to the results you can get from the other two, not for Cinavia removal. Both CloneBD and AnyDVD HD are fine programs, but this task is not one of their strengths.

And a third conclusion is that the output from Fab and CinEx HD will not satisfy the purists. Those who want unadulterated HD audio will never accept the AC3, AAC or LPCM audio streams available from these programs.

All of the programs were easy to use; none had any glitches in operation. CinEx HD was the fastest, but it was matched in speed when I set DVDFab to output as a 50gb movie, with no compression. The download times were much different, but not a huge problem. If you have a cap on downloads, then the CinEx program has a slight advantage.

At the moment CinEx HD also has a larger list of movies that it works with, and as stated earlier, works with video files and DVD-video as well.

I don’t believe I’ve added much to the overall discussion with this review. Most of these facts were already common knowledge to the regulars here at MyCE. But perhaps a direct comparison of the audio clips will help those who are on the fence, when deciding which program to select.

Those who know me should already be aware that I would advise buying equipment that doesn’t obey the Cinavia signal. :slight_smile: But that is another discussion.

I think you did a very nice review Kerry the only point that I would make between Dvdfabs solution is the much larger file download needed to remove Cinavia which is about 1gig in size compared with CinEX HD which the average file size down load is alot smaller around 100mbs.

Thank you for a very nice review of all three programs.:bow::bow:

Great review Kerry
I think you covered the points quite well

Great review - No nonsense, informational :flower:
A special thanks for your remarks on audio output quality. :iagree:

For the record though, I thought I had zero blu-rays, but that turned out to be a lie. A few concerts is actually in the format, and I’ve counted, I have 28 DVDs (including concerts): A real movie guy in other words :disagree:

Great Job Kerry,

The only fault I can find is that those that already bought Anydvd HD in the past bought it because no other software existed that could decrypt media at that time but dismissing those previous buyer shouldn’t be missed. They bought it when nothing else existed to help out. So track record should also play a part here. I was waiting to see what would happen if in the review CloneBD was done without AC3 just straight backup to see if Cinavia still affect the end result when played back.

[QUOTE=coolcolors;2772424]The only fault I can find is that those that already bought Anydvd HD in the past bought it because no other software existed that could decrypt media at that time but dismissing those previous buyer shouldn’t be missed. They bought it when nothing else existed to help out. So track record should also play a part here. I was waiting to see what would happen if in the review CloneBD was done without AC3 just straight backup to see if Cinavia still affect the end result when played back.[/QUOTE]The sound settings in cloneBD require you select ac3 to remove Cinavia with Anydvd if not the movie will still have the Cinavia in the movie which in all fairness this combo does not remove Cinavia it only masks it so it is not detected by the Bluray player and is not future proof the Cinavia is still there and with a simple firmware update any backups could be rendered useless.:slight_smile:

Thanks Kerry…very informative…

No indication? then you didn’t pay much attention. When There’s cinavia on the movie, bert the beaver will tell you in seconds on the title preview.

Also why would they include instructions if it can’t do it on it’s own. The instructions are in the rightclick tooltip on the AnyDVD cinavia removal setting. It clearly states that “downscale audio in CloneBD” is required. That’s the simplest instruction there is.