OS: Win10 Pro 64-bit
CPU: Xeon E5-2697 v2
GPU: GTX 1060 3GB
Stand-alone players: Panasonic DMP-UB700, LG UP970
DVDFab’s UHD Copy functions like several other “shrinking” programs, i.e. it re-compresses disc contents so they’ll fit on a smaller capacity optical disc. But unlike other similar programs, UHD Copy can process 4K UHD Blu-ray titles. UHD Copy is currently unable to create a BDMV directory structure from MKV sources, and it can’t create MKVs from 4K UHD Blu-ray sources.
Important note: UHD Copy does not decrypt. It works only on already decrypted data.
I tested UHD Copy with several 4K UHD Blu-ray titles I had previously decrypted using DeUHD. UHD Copy supports both Full Disc and Main Movie modes. I tested mostly the Main Movie mode where menus and extras are stripped, and only the main feature is copied to output. Note that in Full Disc mode you can’t remove unwanted audio and subtitle tracks which is definitely one for the cons category. I tested Full Disc mode with one title, and the output written on a BD50 worked without issues on the LG player, menus and all.
UHD Copy is quite simple to use: simply drag&drop the decrypted data into program window, select which audio and subtitle tracks you want to keep (in Main Movie mode), and choose target size for outputting to either BD25 or BD50. Clicking the Start button begins the process which can take from minutes to days, depending on the source and output sizes, and your hardware.
Processing is quickest when UHD Copy doesn’t have to do any re-compressing. Some 4K UHD Blu-ray titles are only a few gigabytes too large to fit on a BD50. Stripping away unwanted audio tracks (especially lossless ones) can result in an output small enough to fit on a BD50 with no need for re-compressing. It took 15 minutes to process such a title over a gigabit LAN from one NAS box to another NAS box.
UHD Copy supports hardware accelerated HEVC decoding & encoding via Nvidia CUDA, Intel Quick Sync and AMD APP. It recognizes compatible hardware automatically and defaults to HW acceleration. Settings menu lets you choose which codecs are processed by GPU or CPU. A 2-hour movie took 28 minutes to process using CUDA decode/encode on a GTX 1060 3GB, again over LAN from a NAS box to another NAS box.
Re-compressing using the CPU is by far the slowest method of processing. On a 12-core Xeon E-2697 v2 compressing a 90-minute movie would have taken a minimum of 18 hours to complete. It’s unclear which software HEVC encoder UHD Copy is using but I doubt it’s x265. Settings menu offers no options for selecting software encoding speed/quality.
First test with BD25 as a target came out 2 gigabytes undersized. While writing a BD25 disc all the way to 100% capacity is something some folks frown upon, I’m not happy about leaving so many unused bits on the table. Lurking in the Settings menu there’s a section titled Drives, under which you’ll find a category titled “Blu-ray write”. Pulldown menus let you choose one of the pre-set sizes for BD25 and BD50 media. And if those aren’t to your liking, you can set a custom size for both. Note that a change in output size does not enter into effect automatically; you have to either disable and enable a processing task first, or delete the task and drag&drop the source into UHD Copy again.
Testing the output
Having found a custom BD25 media size suitable for most titles through trial and error I processed four titles and burned the outputs on BD25 discs (using ImgBurn as UHD Copy does not have a write-to-disc engine) which were then tested on two stand-alone players connected to a 2016 Samsung 4K UHD HDR television.
All four discs played without problems on both players. HDR10 metadata from source was copied over to backup; TV recognized HDR video immediately, and switched to HDR mode. Without a Dolby Vision compatible player and display I could not test if Dolby Vision was also copied over. Stream spec listed by MediaInfo contains a secondary HEVC video stream exactly like the Dolby Vision source, however. UHD Copy also lists Dolby Vision in its main screen if DV is present in the source.
One of the titles used in testing contained Cinavia. UHD Copy recognized it and marked the infected audio track with a symbol in the audio tracks pulldown menu. Tested version of UHD Copy allowed one instance of Cinavia removal as a trial but when I selected the removal UHD Copy announced it had already been used. In other words, adding Cinavia removal to UHD Copy costs extra.
I lacked the patience needed to test UHD Copy’s software HEVC encoder so can’t comment on that. As for Nvidia’s encoder, I’m sure you know it’s not very good compared to the likes of x265. Sure it’s fast but the speed comes at a cost. Those four titles I shrunk to BD25? They all looked pretty damn terrible; riddled with banding, smearing and various compression artefacts. It’s clearly not a good idea to shrink a 50+ GB source to a BD25 using Nvidia’s hardware encoder.
I got much better results from shrinking 54-60 GB sources to BD50 media. Once a source is dropped in and output options have been chosen, UHD Copy displays a percentage denoting how much compression is needed. A figure of 90% means the source needs to be compressed by 10%, for example. Stripping unwanted audio from 54-60 GB sources resulted in a compression of only 5-6%, and while the output was not perfect, it was certainly passable. YMMV, of course.
In summation, UHD Copy does what it says on the tin: it shrinks decrypted 4K UHD Blu-ray titles down in size so the output can be written on BD25/50 media while preserving HDR metadata. Output picture quality depends on the compression ratio and the encoder chosen for the task. Keep the compression ratio low, and even HW accelerated encoders can produce passable quality video.