Free decryption programs

vbimport

#1

At one time there were many different decryption programs available for dvds. Development has stopped on most, like DVD Decrypter, DVD Shrink and Ripit4Me. And Blu-ray decryption has had even fewer free choices.

I looked around last month, just to see if the free programs have had any additions, but it seems there are fewer than ever. BDLot DVD ISO Master seems to be abandoned now, and the link to that program no longer works on their home page.

This leaves only two free choices that are widely recommended, so I decided to do a head to head comparison of those programs. One is DVDFab HD Decrypter, and the other is MakeMKV.


#2

In November, I downloaded the trial for DVDFab 9 and immediately used the program to decrypt a dvd, then a blu ray. This started the trial period of the DVD Copy and Blu Ray Copy sections within DVDFab. Since I don’t normally need this program, it sat unused until the trial expired.

This gave me a chance to use the free section within DVDFab. The first thing that you see in the program when you start it is the page showing the various modules that can be used in DVDFab. Of course, the DVD Copy and Blu ray Copy sections show to be expired. But at this point, the novice user is hit with a dilemma. There is no indication of how to start DVDFab HD Decrypter. Clicking on it in the main window does nothing. Eventually, by trial and error, you click on Try, which will take you to the next section of the program. I have to say, this is a very poor user interface design, but it certainly discourages use of the free section.

The next window starts in the Copy tab, which is fortunate, since this is the only one in which HD Decrypter will work. Clicking on the disc icon that shows Full Disc, you can choose to rip either the main movie, or the entire disc. I tried this with a dvd, and successfully ripped the main movie only. Ripping the entire disc, I got the program to work with both a dvd and a blu ray. One thing I noticed was how slow the program is when analyzing discs. Trying to rip the blu ray, the program hung up twice, and I had to exit the program entirely before it worked with that disc. This was not a new movie, as it had been released over two years ago.

DVDFab 9 requires internet access, so be aware of that as well.


#3

On to MakeMKV. The first thing you should be aware of with MakeMKV is its beta status. MakeMKV is free to use for both Blu-ray decryption and DVD decryption while it is in beta status. If they ever move to a full, commercial release, DVD decryption will remain free, but not Blu-ray.

MakeMKV has been in beta status for years though. If you want to purchase it now, that is possible. The only benefit of purchasing it now is convenience, so that you don’t have to install beta keys periodically, and you might save some money if the price goes up in the future. But most use MakeMKV in its free form.

There are some other oddities about using MakeMKV. It will only decrypt DVD’s and output the main movie as an .mkv file. There is no option to rip the entire disc (including menus), or to rip as an ISO or DVD-Video files. For Blu-ray, the situation is a little different. You can rip the main movie as an .mkv file, or you can use the Backup mode to rip the entire disc to the hard drive as files.

When you start MakeMKV with a DVD in the drive, it will locate the optical drive for you but you need to start the analysis manually by clicking the large drive icon. It will examine the movie and show a list of titles that are available. The main movie will of course be the largest. The smaller titles will be extras, trailers or commentary. You can open the main movie title and select or deselect audio and subtitle streams that are found there. Then just start the ripping process.


#4

Ripping to a full backup of a Blu-ray movie using MakeMKV requires a slightly different process. Instead of clicking on the large drive icon, click on File–>Backup. Make sure to put a check mark in the box to decrypt the video files.


#5

So what are the relative strengths and weaknesses of these two programs? DVDFab HD Decrypter is intentionally crippled in certain ways. It can no longer output as an ISO. It lags behind the commercial program in updates. And yet, of the two free programs I’m comparing here, it is the best option if you want a complete copy of a DVD-Video.

MakeMKV is not updated as fast as its main competitors, the commercial versions of DVDFab and AnyDVD, but it doesn’t lag too far behind. If you need a decryption program that is updated whenever new versions of protection are found, neither of these free programs is going to satisfy you for long.

MakeMKV is convenient if you want a single file from a DVD. But you will lose menus when working with DVD-Video.

Comparing the two when decrypting Blu-ray, DVDFab HD Decrypter seems to be slower to analyze the movie. Ripping speeds seem similar. Both will do well if you want a complete copy.

Personally, I find MakeMKV to be easier to use, but I’ve never been a fan of the interface in DVDFab, as it has become more and more cluttered each year. MakeMKV is crude in comparison, visually, but simple is sometimes better. I do wonder how well MakeMKV handles seamless branching Blu-ray when making an mkv file, as it is something I haven’t tried with it yet.

So my conclusion is that neither program is a complete solution for decryption and ripping movies. Which you choose really depends on what you need for output. Luckily, since both are free to use, they can complement one another, and it is never a bad idea to have more than one decryption program on hand.

Are there capabilities of these two free programs that I’ve missed and need some commentary? If so, please feel free to post. Or just share some of your experiences with these programs.


#6

[QUOTE=Kerry56;2714597]At one time there were many different decryption programs available for dvds. Development has stopped on most, like DVD Decrypter, DVD Shrink and Ripit4Me. And Blu-ray decryption has had even fewer free choices.

I looked around last month, just to see if the free programs have had any additions, but it seems there are fewer than ever. BDLot DVD ISO Master seems to be abandoned now, and the link to that program no longer works on their home page.[/QUOTE]
For DVDs only, the simple DVDSmith though not updated for some time is still highly effective.

Its ripping speed is a bit slower than than of DVDFabHDdecrypter but the program loads much faster, it rarely, if ever, hangs [unlike my experience with BDLot DVD ISO Master] and you don’t have to be connected to the internet to use it. Also, save in very rare cases, its output files are compatible with DVDShrink [again, unlike my experience with BDLot DVD ISO Master].

[The program does display a small ad for AnyDVD Cloner (of which it is a stripped down version) on completion of a rip but there is no need to click on the relevant link; you can just close the window.]


#7

For anyone interested in trying AnyDVD Cloner (the commercial big brother of DVDSmith mentioned above and which supports ripping to iso, compressing/transcoding DVD-9 to DVD-5 and burning), it will be available as a freebie at Glarysoft Giveaway tomorrow.


#8

Thanks Phil downloaded and registered a treat.


#9

@ philamber , I also downloaded & installed AnyDVD Cloner .
It does say no updates to newer versions.
That kind of cripples it working on new releases .

One question:
What do you set the burning engine to ?
Microsoft IMAPI or Internal ?
Those are the only two I see.


#10

[QUOTE=cholla;2719675]@ philamber , I also downloaded & installed AnyDVD Cloner .
It does say no updates to newer versions.
That kind of cripples it working on new releases .[/QUOTE]
I doubt that this matters much as, although blu-ray protections seem to be updated constantly, there have been few, if any changes to dvd copy protections in the last couple of years.

[QUOTE=cholla;2719675]
One question:
What do you set the burning engine to ?
Microsoft IMAPI or Internal ?
Those are the only two I see.[/QUOTE]
In my testing, I just left it at Microsoft IMAPI but I presume either would work. If I were to use the program though, I’d save to a dvd folder or iso image and use ImgBurn to burn the DVD.

I should indicate though that I downloaded the program to try it and absolutely hated it.

There is no option to just rip all files (or main movie) to disc [which is what DVDSmith does].

There is no option to load a dvd folder for processing [unlike most other DVD copying programs].

There appear to be only 2 options for output size, one a bit smaller than a DVD-5 and the other a bit smaller than a DVD-9 [the latter wouldn’t do for an unaltered copy of some DVDs that use almost the entire space on a DVD-9; example Disc 2 (or side B of the flipper disc) of Ben Hur].

In my view [maybe I’m just dumb :doh:], the method of selecting the files for a main movie only (no menu) backup is confusing.

Aside from any number of rival commercial programs that I prefer [e.g. Ideal DVD Copy], I would far prefer just to use DVDSmith or DVDFabHDDecrypter together with ImgBurn for uncompressed copy or DVDShrink + ImgBurn for compresssed/transcoded copy DVDs.


#11

I haven’t tried it at all yet except to look at the GUI.
Since I don’t have DVDSmith installed I couldn’t make a comparison.

I already have several paid softwares that do a good job.
Including Ideal DVD Copy .
Thanks for the information . I haven’t decided to keep it but may not uninstall it for a while.