DVD Shrink is a free program that can rip DVD’s into the hard drive and compress them, if needed, to fit on a standard 4.7-gig DVD. It will create a DVD image that can be burned into a DVD using a number of third party programs. It can also re-author DVDs to allow the creation of custom DVD program compilations.
An increasing number of the DVDs that you watch are stored on a so-called double density DVDs that can store up to twice the amount of data that a standard DVD. What makes this program unique is its ability to compress DVD data to the standard 4.7 gigs, which means you can use a standard DVD instead of having to buy expensive double-density blank DVDs. You will rarely, if ever, notice any decrease in video quality.
This review will include 3 sections: (a) ripping, (b) compression, (c) burning, and (d) re-authoring.
DVD ripping: DVD shrink can read an encrypted DVD and save it to the hard drive. This is a very simple process; just press the ’backup’ button and the program will analyze your DVD and be on its way. I will be honest in saying that I do not use DVD Shrink to rip DVDs myself as I prefer the more powerful RipIt4Me/DVD Decrypter combination. I ripped a DVD using DVD Shrink for the purposes of this review and it worked very well; however, you will find that some more recent copy protection methods will require something like RipIt4Me to rip/decrypt (you can still use DVD Shrink to compress the ripped DVD afterwards).
Compression: when you compress your DVD into the desired size (typically 4.7 gigs for use with a standard DVD), DVD shrink will allow you to choose exactly which parts of the programs you want to include. This means you can leave out bonus features, audio data for languages that you do not want, previews and other programs, etc. (Or alternately you can choose to include everything).
The process is surprisingly fast (compressing the data for a ripped 6.5 gig DVD took all of 19 minutes (on my Pentium core duo 1.66mhz/ 1.5 gigs of RAM) using default settings. The quality of the resulting DVD was virtually indistinguishable from the original. Note that I’ve used this program to back up more than a dozen DVDs that I compressed to fit on a standard DVD; I’ve not once noticed any deterioration in quality that I could see.
Burning: DVD Shrink can burn the resulting DVD images by integrating with Nero if you have it installed. But since Nero is not freeware we will not dwell on that … instead rest assured you can burn the resulting DVD image (in ISO format) using freeware programs like Imgburn or DVD Decrypter.
Re-Authoring: this option used to create your own compilation of programs on a DVD. I did not really use this functionality so I cannot say much about it. Note, however, that this is NOT the program you want if you have media files that you would like to a standard DVD (for that, check out AVI2DVD or DVDFlick).
The Verdict: I love this program, and here’s why:
- It works really well.
- It has a simple, straightforward user interface.
- Its the only freeware program of its kind/
Note on downloading: use the download link below (the last line of this review) for version 3.2. Read this scam alert to learn about fake DVD Shrink sites.
Version tested: 18.104.22.168
Compatibility: Windows 9x/2000/XP (no info on Vista).