Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Duplicate DVDs and CDs with the Addonics DVD DigiCopier


By Denise Amrich

The Addonics DVD DigiCopier, shown in Figure A, is a standalone box that contains a DVD player and a DVD burner. Priced at about $350, this machine makes duplicating DVDs or CDs a snap.


Duplicating disks is as easy as 1-2-3. (click for larger image)

The DigiCopier couldn't be easier to operate. You stick a master DVD or CD in the player drive and blank media in the burner drive. You don't even have to push a button. As soon as the media is detected in the drive, the DigiCopier gets to copying. With one or two exceptions that were in the first instance a result of bad blank media and in the second instance, a damaged source disk, we had absolutely no problems copying unprotected CDs, CD-ROMs, and DVDs. The machine performed well.

This brings us to the main topic of this article: who should buy this thing, and why? First off, if you're thinking about getting the DigiCopier because you have a Netflix account or you rent DVDs regularly at Blockbuster and want to expand your personal collection, shame on you. You know that sort of thing is illegal. More to the point, the DigiCopier won't (and shouldn't) copy protected disks. This is not a tool for media pirates.

It is, however, a great tool for independent media producers, whether you make your own movies, music, or software. The ideal application is one of low-volume disk production. For example, one of our friends makes custom videos. He recently finished a sports video from a client who wants to get his son a sports scholarship and another promotional video for a small construction contractor. In each of these cases, the client needs 20-50 disks produced. Having a standalone device like the DigiCopier, which works without needing to use up a computer's time or physical space, can make this process easy.

Likewise, if you've got a band and have produced your own music, produce a spoken-word audio program like our own Your First Digital Camera or produce software products distributed on optical media, the DigiCopier can be a huge help.

We recently used the DigiCopier to make eight copies of Knoppix STD, a free, open-source, CD-bootable version of Linux. Because Knoppix STD is such a useful diagnostic tool, we now keep a CD copy in a paper sleeve, attached to the side of each of our servers. It's an easy and convenient way to have an on-hand diagnostic tool.

One final note: the DigiCopier does come with a USB 2.0 interface, so you can use the device to add two external drives to your computer, or provide more advanced computer control. We didn't have much of a need for this, having already stocked our PCs to the brim with drives, but this could be useful in a pinch.

Overall, we've been very satisfied with the Addonics DVD DigiCopier and give it a masterful 4 out of 5.