There are many different types of video converters out there with many different features, this is one of them.
The 2 DVD’s I am testing for this software are “Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out” and “Disney’s Tangled”. I have 2 kids, my son loves Lego’s and Star Wars and my daughter loves romantic cute things, so these movies we bought are perfect for them. When we go on road trips, we have a portable TV that they can watch but there is only one TV so many times it’s hard for them to agree on a movie and then I have to suffer. My daughter has a Nabi JR (a tablet) though and she doesn’t like any of the games… but it can play videos and that’s where this software comes into play amongst the many other reasons this software is nice.
Visiting Wondershares site at http://www.wondershare.com/ you can find this and many great pieces of software, some freeware, shareware, tools and more.
Once there you can select which version you want to download and click on the free trial button to download it or click “Buy Now”, I chose Windows and the Free Trial and there is also a version for Mac. The software downloaded quickly as it was 728KBe but it did take about 44 seconds to install. It downloads the additional files during the install, so make sure you are connected to the internet for the installation.
When complete, click Finish on the final screen. Since I am reviewing this product I chose to launch as soon as I clicked “Finish”. As soon as you click finish it tries to access IP 22.214.171.124 using the WSHelper.exe.
Once the program starts you are greeted with this nice clean window. One thing to note, every time you start the program it tries to access IP 126.96.36.199. Obviously I am not a fan of phoning home but let’s see how this turns out.
If you try to access a DVD protected with CSS encryption you will be prompted with a message stating that this cannot be converted or burned.
After you click OK, it connects you to this webpage below
If you chose to download this plugin, after downloading double click on the file and it will prompt you to install. Click Install to begin.
When complete it will prompt you letting you know it has installed. The text is red and some might mistake it for an error and click uninstall, I almost did. Be sure to click on the X instead to close this window, they should have included a close or exit button.
When you load a DVD afterwards it will now ask you if you want to only load the “Main Movie” or “All Movies”. So it seems this download helped with the major drawback, but why is that not a default add-on if it is free anyway?
Once you have downloaded and installed the plug in and try to convert your first movie or video it will inform you that you are using the trial version of the software. Trial version restricts you to output that will be marked with a watermark throughout the video and limit the length of your conversion.
To register it, assuming you have the key you click “Register” and the “Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate (unregistered)” window appears. Here you would enter the email address you registered the software under and the registration code Wondershare emailed after the purchased.
After you have registered you will be prompted with the following message informing you that you have registered successfully.
If you have not yet purchased this program you would click “Buy Now” and be taken to their website
For this review we are going to explore the features of the registered version.
For the initial movie I tested Disney’s Tangled. To copy this movie, I inserted the DVD into my DVD drive and then clicked on the “Load DVD” drop down menu and selected the drive with tangled in it.
Once the drive is selected it will analyze the DVD, which only took 6 seconds. Then you are given the option to record “All Movies” or “Main Movie”. For the initial test I selected “All Movies”
Clicking OK starts analyzing the DVD
After analysis is complete, select the format you want the movie in. For this test I selected the Output Format for an iPhone 4 since I would be testing on my phone. Clicked under the “Output Format” section’s drop down menu, circled in red below then selected “iPhone 4”
You can also choose to merge all of the videos into one file, instead of separate video files. To do this, just before converting, place check in the “Merge all videos in to one file” radio button.
After selecting the appropriate format, the picture changed from the default picture which in my example was an iPad2 to the iPhone4 shown below. Now that everything is selected, I clicked “Convert”.
While this was ripping I ran task manager to see how this was utilizing the CPU. As you can see below, it was using 100% of an Intel 3770K CPU at stock frequencies across all cores. Makes for a decent utility for stressing your overclocks, although it does little with memory.
Once complete, depending if you have your speakers/headset on your will hear a bell informing you that it has completed ripping the DVD
The entire process took 00:30:13. The DVD was 12.9Gigs worth of data, with the output selected for the iphone 4 was reduced to 2.90GB in 15 separate movie files, each file a different chapter or a preview. The format is MP4 with a Video Codec ofH264 and an Audio codec of AAC default.
Repeating the process I listed above, this time selecting “Main Movie” to record the movie, the analysis took only 3 seconds and the ripping took 00:11:59. The single main video recorded was 5.5Gigs with the same output selected previously resulted in a 1.15GB MP4. This test only generated 1 file, the main movie.
This one slightly less intensive, mainly hovering around 93% CPU utilization.
I tested again this time with “Lego Star Wars: The empire Strikes Out” selecting “All Movies”
For this 23 minute DVD it took 3 seconds to analyze, not too bad.
I then clicked “Convert”
The process took 00:02:46 to rip to an MP4 format (Video Codec of H264, Audio Codec of AACC) output suitable for the iPhone 4. This generated 3 files.
When the initial test completed, I deleted the reference of the DVD and reanalyzed the DVD selecting “Main Movie”, this time taking only 2 seconds.
To rip the movie took only 00:02:30 using the same DVD and the same format MP4 format (Video Codec of H264, Audio Codec of AACC).
A few options to mention that can be done so far with both of the DVD’s I have shown above.
This option allows you to select the subtitle language
This option allows you to select audio language
Here you can provide more detail for each video file.
This option allows you to enable or disable GPU acceleration. This is an amazing feature than can potentially save tons of time decoding or encoding video. You will want to play with this selection depending on your video card.
The Edit button allows you to edit many features of the DVD.
Under this selection you can Trim, Adjust, Add Effects, Watermark and add subtitles.
Trim: Allows you to make the video shorter or capture certain sections.
Adjust: Allows you to rotate, flip horizontally and vertically as well as crop selections of the video.
Effect: Allows you to adjust the volume, brightness, contrast, saturation and de-interlacing of the video with many different options.
Watermark: Allows you to add a watermark
Subtitle: Allows you to import subtitles if downloaded and applied
The video below is an example of many of these features applied to this Lego Star Wars movie. I flipped the video horizontally and vertically as well as added a de-interlace effect and added the Dragon Blogger watermark.
Additionally you are not subjected solely to MP4 if you don’t like that format, there are many to choose from
And many devices to play them on
You can also Burn the files you just recorded, please make sure this is only for backup purposes. To burn, click on the Burn tab on the top of the program, circled in Red below
Under the “Burn” section you have a few options you can select
DVD Label: What you would like to title your DVD
Burn to: Here you can select what drive you want to burn these files too, what folder you want to store them in and what ISO file you would like to save them to.
Quality: Allows you to select the quality you would like to record the disc. It will of course affect how much can fit on the disc, choose wisely.
Aspect Ratio: This allows you to select what aspect ratio you would like to burn the video to.
More: Clicking the More tab on the bottom of this screen brings up a section that allows you to select the folder where the DVD files are located and also if you want to select the TV Standard in which you would like to record the movies into. Available options are NTSC or PAL.
At the very bottom, next to the BURN button you can select what type of DVD you will be burning to, Single layer disc or Dual layer disc. Single layer will only allow you to burn up to 4.5Gigs, most DVD’s in stores are single layer. Dual layer will allow you to burn 8.5Gigs, more expensive but sometimes needed for many movies unless you are only burning the “Main Movie” and don’t care about the other sections of the DVD.
If Converting and Burning files are not enough, you can also download your favorite video off of Youtube and many other video sources. To do this first click on the “Download” button circled in red below.
Once here click on the “Add URL” button on the left hand side
With this open, click on your favorite browser and go to your favorite video service, I chose www.youtube.com
Then I searched for my favorite band and song
I then highlighted and copied the address/URL of the video while it was playing in the background,
I pasted the address just copied into the URL: section and selected the format I wanted to save the video to. To see the formats available please look in the previous sections of this review. You can also select the “Save to:” location but I left it as the default location.
When done making my selections I clicked “OK
After about a 1 or 2 seconds of analyzing the link and video it started downloading.
When it’s done, you can watch your favorite video anywhere from any device in any format.
Aside from YouTube for testing purposes I tried a specialty website that had various videos included and I was also able to download those videos as well. This video downloading is a very nice feature, use it wisely.
At the top right hand corner of the main screen you have a few more options
With all the good, there is unfortunately some bad.
I have already mentioned phoning home a few times, which does bug some.
After running these tests, I started Firefox, which is my default browser I was prompted with this message. I was never asked during my install if I would allow an add-on to be installed; this should be a customized option. It never asked me in Internet Explorer or Chrome so it seems to only attach itself to the Default browser.
This program installs 2 startup programs. Both seem to be helper files, but are they really needed?
If for any reason you are unhappy with this software, I can’t see why but you can uninstall it. The uninstaller is somewhat messy, leaving traces behind in:
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Wondershare” as an empty directory
“C:\ProgramData\Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate” with various files, only consuming 688KB of space
“C:\Users\Iggy\AppData\Local\Wondershare” with files consuming 1.54MB of space,
“C:\Users\Iggy\AppData\Roaming\Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate” with files consuming 916KB of space
As well as registry entries “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Wondershare” and “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Wondershare”.
Even though I am taking time out to point out these issues, they by far are not show stoppers. Many pieces of software like this leave traces of their previous install lying around probably also far worse, access the internet and automatically start-up that you may not know about. Many we use daily.
I found this program to be very nice, with only a few flaws
- Converts too many different file types, audio or video.
- Allows you to convert parts of the DVD not just the entire DVD.
- Can burn CSS encrypted DVD’s, for backup purposes. User responsibly.
- Allows you to edit and add many features.
- Allows you to download videos not easily accessible for download without a separate program.
- Allows you to set defaults to rip for many times of devices.
- Allows you to burn your media directly from the program without an additional program.
- Can be used as a CPU benchmarking utility when ripping video
- Brings features together in one program without needing to use several different programs
- Reasonable price
- Phones home (this was confirmed as both a software update check and a license validation check from Wondershare)
- Installs features on your default browser
- Sloppy uninstaller
- Adds 2 startup programs that may not really be needed (you can always disable them with the Windows 7 MSConfig or Windows 8 Task Manager / Startup)
You can buy your copy of Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate or look into many other pieces of software they have available on their website.