Hamstrung 321 DVD XTreme backup is
a 2x Dud.

April 18, 2004 by Zack Bryce,
Tech Lab Mgr.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last two or three years, you are probably aware that there has been a very big fight on to preserve your rights to back up the Movie and Game DVD’s that you bought LEGALLY. Oh yeah, we all know that there are some who pirate and copy rented DVD’s, but the vast majority of copied DVD’s are done for personally conservation of property.

Quite a while back, 321 Studio from St. Charles MO was the first company to produce a complete software package to effectively copy encrypted DVD’s onto blank DVD’s with DVD X Copy. The first version needed two blank DVD’s to make a full copy of a single commercial movie DVD and for the first few versions there were lots of bugs. Most importantly though, was it fully integrated capability to de-encrypt and copy a DRM encrypted Movie to a copy.

In mid 2003, 321 Studio issued DVD X Copy Xpress, which could now compress a two-sided commercial DVD to a single sided blank DVD that you find on store shelves. By this time, 321 Studio’s had worked all the bugs out too and the copy I bought in 2003 worked flawlessly.

Since then 321 Studio has released about every “Name” variation of DVD X Copy a marketing guy could dream up’ like DVD X Copy Gold, Platinum, Special Edition, etc. I believe their eager-beaver marketing brain missed Pewter, Stainless Steel and Combat Edition.

Needless to say, Hollywood sued 321 Studio in Federal Court based on the infringement of the DMC Act and has had all DVD X Copy versions banned. 321 Studio has filed appeals and emergency stay requests to federal appeals courts in San Francisco and New York, with the argument that the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act is unconstitutional because it "effectively denies consumers the tools to exercise their fair rights" , as stated by 321 Studio.

321 Studio was required to cease sales and retrieve all unsold copies of DVD X Copy, etc. from retail sources. If you see an old version of DVD X Copy around, I highly suggest that you snap it up.

It should be noted that when you did start the back-up process of copying a commercial DVD, all the versions of DVD X Copy warned you NOT to copy for distribution any copyrighted media and when you played back a copied DVD, the opening screen plainly depicted a Warning Notice that this was a copy. Professional movie pirates were not going to use DVD X Copy just for this reason.




Well, 321 Studio has released a new version of “legal” copy applications called "DVD X TREME" (about $79.99 after rebate). Obviously, this new version cannot copy or back up DCM encrypted DVD’s and what’s worse, most of it other features don’t offer must appeal either. This version has three features; DVD Copy, AudioX Tools and DVDX Show.

"Normally I’d say, “I don’t think so” and return any application that can’t live with mainstream apps like Roxio and Nero . . "

We bought a copy from Fry’s discount stores and tried it out on a new 3GHz Windows XP Workstation. Also installed on the workstation is Roxio’s latest full version of Easy CD Creator suite 6.2 and Ahead’s Nero 6 package.

Since you can no longer back-up a commercial DVD, we tried copying a DVD that had been made professionally without encryption for a educational program. Each and every time the DVD X TREME read the original DVD but balked during the burn attempt, delivering a “Error Writing DVD” message window. 321 Studio’s tech support that Roxio’s and Nero’s packet writing applications are “not compatible with DVD X TREME and must be uninstalled or disabled

Normally I’d say, “I don’t think so” and return any application that can’t live with mainstream apps like Roxio and Nero, but we wanted to test DVD X TREME, so we did uninstall them for now. After a successful DVD copy burn, we tried out the DVD-R 4X (Pioneer AO5) burned disk on three different brands of consumer DVD players. It would not play on an expensive Sony and a Panasonic deck, but did work on a cheapy 2-year-old Fisher DVD player. That figures, doesn’t it?

The other two built-in applications AudioX Tools and DVDX Show are disappointingly uninspiring and other older commonly used applications from Roxio and Nero are considerably better. Even the myriads of Freeware and Shareware apps are more featured that either of the integrated tools.

AudioX Tools rips CD OK, but lacks any usable features worth noting and like DVD copy utility, DVDX Show failed to produce a playable movie on out two high quality DVD players from Sony and Panasonic.

The Bottom Line –
We have to tell you to take a pass on DVD X TREME, it really is a dud and search the Flee Markets, weekend Computer Shows and online for old copies of DVD X Copy Xpress to by before they all disappear.

Here’s hoping that 321 Studio wins their Appeal against Hollywood, so that they can come back and release DVD X Copy Palladium Doom Edition!


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