Review: Popcorn

Easy and reliable, to pop out those DVDs (April 27th, 2005)

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Roxio

Price: MSRP: US $49.99

The Good

  • Easy to Use; 1-Click Duplication; DVD Compression and elimination for large content.

The Bad

  • Does not work with Copy Protected DVDs; Bundled Label Software does not do full size DVD Covers.

Toast is one of the most popular products used to burn CD discs. From its early days in development with a small company called Astarte, then moving to Adaptec, it was acquired by Roxio, who is now a division of Sonic Solutions. When Apple began promoting the Digital Lifestyle and the iLife Suite, Roxio took note and created a simple and easy to use Toast-like product for creating DVD content. The result is Popcorn.

What is Popcorn?

Popcorn is an application that helps you make high quality copies of your personal DVD discs. The included printed manual, (yes, not on PDF!) states that you can "share home movies... and protect your original DVDs from loss or damage." Popcorn is perfect for copying discs created with Toast, iDVD, and DVD Studio Pro, but will not duplicate copy-protected DVDs. Roxio, following the lead of Apple's iTunes, makes it clear that Popcorn cannot be used to steal copy-protected movies. If you try to duplicate one, a warning pops up: "the DVD is encrypted and Roxio does not provide technical support for decryption software distributed on the Internet." (Hint, Hint!) If the DVD is not copy protected, simply drag and drop the DVD icon into the Popcorn window for simple 1-click duplication. Other options are burning from an image file or a Video_TS folder.

How It Works

Popcorn analyzes the DVD content and gives you compression options to suit your needs and DVD disc format. Commercial DVDs often include secondary audio and languages, movie trailers, and alternate angles and endings, which may exceed the 4.7GB limit of blank single layer DVDs. Popcorn can compress the content or eliminate all of these extra features, except the main movie, so that it will fit on one DVD. Video quality does degrade with compression, so elimination is the preferred option. Popcorn also supports dual layer DVDs and burners. Duplication is fairly quick, depending on the speed of your DVD drive and your Mac.

Popcorn also includes Discus RE 3.06 Lite, an easy to use disc-labeling program. It includes sample artwork and over 100 label templates to use on the DVDs or jewel case. If you want to print a full size DVD Case, you have to upgrade to the full version of Discus.

Overall, Popcorn does what it says, copies YOUR DVD. If used as a one-two step with other decryption software, it is the perfect answer for the road warrior who wants to leave his DVD collection at home or the Mac user with kids who think DVDs are toys.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Art Payne


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