Blu-ray Burning Software Review
Why Buy Blu-ray Burning Software?
Editor's Note: Some of the products reviewed here allow you to circumvent copy encryptions contained on commercial discs, an act that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) forbids, even for personal use. Top Ten Reviews does not endorse piracy or any other illegal activity. Some consumer advocates are actively seeking exceptions to the act's provision for personal use of copyrighted material purchased by consumers. There's no evidence that any consumer has been prosecuted or sued for circumventing copy protections for personal use.
The top performers in our review are Leawo Blu-ray Copy, the Gold Award winner; Blue-Cloner, the Silver Award winner; and Leawo Blu-ray Creator, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 applications.
With the proliferation of high-definition video and widespread access to affordable HD televisions over the past decade, it was only logical that the movies and shows we watch would upgrade their quality as well. The Blu-ray format provides an HD medium for video and audio files to play back with superior quality, giving you the best viewing experience possible.
While you can still enjoy watching DVDs on a widescreen HD television, you may notice that the picture isn't as sharp as on your old television. The real problem lies in the size of the screens we use. As televisions get wider, the playback of low-capacity DVDs gets blurrier. Only Blu-rays and Blu-ray burner software are prepared to cope with the increasing demand for HD videos. With upward of 50GB of storage capacity, Blu-rays are perfect for backing up important data and burning Blu-ray movies. If you have an HD camcorder, you also need a Blu-ray burner and Blu-ray burning software to play those videos on your HDTV.
While upgrading your video library from DVD to Blu-ray can be costly, you can use Blu-ray burner software to copy, archive and customize your Blu-ray discs. This allows you to extend the lifespan of your video investment and protects your originals against scratching and damage. Even though the standard scratch-resistant polymer coating makes Blu-ray discs slightly more durable than DVDs and CDs, all it takes is one careless mistake to ruin a Blu-ray disc.
How It Works
Every Blu-ray movie contains an ISO file. This is the blueprint that contains everything on the Blu-ray disc, including the movie, bonus features, audio and closed captions. Blu-ray burner software scans this file, copies it onto your hard drive and then burns it onto a new blank disc.
Almost all commercial Blu-ray discs are protected with encryptions that don't allow you to burn new copies, which is meant to prevent illegal piracy. The best Blu-ray burners have built-in decrypters that bypass these protections and allow you to burn, archive and customize the movies you already own.
One of the most useful features of Blu-ray burner software is the ability to save a disc's ISO file to your hard drive. When you have it on your computer, it acts as a virtual disc that you can watch with Blu-ray player software the same way you would a physical Blu-ray. You can also use this file to burn new copies of your Blu-ray discs as long as it is on your computer. If you have a large Blu-ray library, it may be worth archiving the ISO files of all your discs so you can access them even when Blu-ray technology is replaced with the next video format advancement.
Blu-ray Burning Software: What to Look For
Choosing the right Blu-ray burning software doesn't have to be complicated. The first question you need to ask yourself is what you need your burning software to do. The software programs on our lineup have many specialized options, and you want to choose the best one to suit your needs. Here are some of the most important aspects to consider when choosing the best Blu-ray burning software.
Look for software that retains playback quality as close to the original as possible. If you are looking to copy your discs completely in their original form, look for Blu-ray writing software that creates an exact 1:1 copy of your disc. The best Blu-ray burning software gives you options to customize your copy, such as eliminating or retaining menus and bonus features. Look for software that can retain existing 3D effects from 3D Blu-ray discs. Even if you don't currently have any 3D Blu-rays in your collection, it's nice to know the software you choose can support any Blu-ray you may get in the future.
Ease of Use
The process of copying Blu-rays can be complicated and confusing. Some software offers lots of options and settings to work with, which can be overwhelming. Look for Blu-ray burning software that is not only easy to install, but also comes with a clean and intuitive user interface. Drag-and-drop support, graphical buttons and simple menus go a long way toward improving the experience. Software that has a live preview option enables you to preview your selected options before burning a copy of your disc, potentially saving you a lot of wasted time and discs.
If you plan to back up your personal Blu-ray collection, you will want an application capable of decrypting and ripping videos. Decryption power is how effectively Blu-ray burning software can remove the copy protection found on commercial Blu-rays. This is necessary in order to copy an encrypted Blu-ray disc. If the software hasn't been updated in a while or lacks decryption capabilities, its usefulness is limited to copying noncommercial discs, such as videos you record on your own.
An important aspect of Blu-ray burning software is its ability to create Blu-ray discs. However, if the software can also burn files to DVDs and CDs, then you are not restricted to using Blu-ray discs, which are more expensive. Another important feature is the ability to burn disk images. Images are virtual copies of a CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc that serves as a template to burn physical copies quickly and cleanly. Look for software that not only creates these copies, but can store them on your hard drive as well.
If you choose to burn a commercial disc to a DVD, you will notice a huge quality loss from the original Blu-ray. All the applications in our side-by-side comparison produced at least some pixelation, compression artifact or other imperfections in the picture of the movie. However, some software programs perform much better in this area than others.
Help & Support
Blu-ray burning can be a confusing process, so look for companies that offer technical support through at least a few methods. Some manufacturers have online tutorials, either videos or step-by-step guides, to help you through the process. You should also look for a company that offers support via email or live chat in case you run into problems with the software.
Our Verdict and Recommendations
At the end of our evaluation, we concluded that the following Blu-ray burning software are the best you can buy.
Leawo Blu-ray Copy is our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner. This versatile burning software is extremely user friendly, and it allows you to burn your Blu-rays to your hard drive and to make a 1:1 copy of a standard Blu-ray or 3D Blu-ray with hardly any hassle. This software is great for creating backups of your HD home video footage as well as your growing library of Blu-ray discs.
Blue-Cloner, our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner, also offers a simple interface and powerful decryption to help you back up your prized Blu-ray library. This burning software allows you to create custom backups of your favorite Blu-rays by giving you the option to choose which chapters and audio tracks you want to burn.
Our Bronze Award winner, Leawo Blu-ray Creator, is another standout Blu-ray burning software application, and one of the best for archiving your Blu-ray library. This program has many of the same features as Leawo Blu-ray Copy, but it does not have the ability to copy 3D Blu-ray discs. This is not a problem if your collection does not include any 3D shows, but there's always the possibility that you'll have some in the future and want to retain those effects in copies.
Blu-ray burning software allows you to customize, archive, convert and burn new copies of your Blu-ray movies. All the products on our lineup have simple tools for many or all of these tasks. The largest differences between the products lie in their abilities to produce high-quality compressed burns and how quickly they make new copies. Consult our articles about Blu-ray burning software to help you make an informed decision as to which is the best application for your Blu-ray collection.