View Full Version : Storage Medium Shelf Life

01-29-2007, 03:12 PM
I am confused.

I was under the impression that CD/DVDs were long term permenant storage. Video tapes would deplete as they are based on magnetic storage that disappates over time or quickly when stored next to a big magnet.


I decided to start a new thread after seeing how long my reply was and figuring others would chime in...

I was always under the same impression then I read that this isn't necessarily the case. There are people more knowlegeable than I on this but in my research it seems that for long term storage your best bet is tape - especially for irreplaceable memories. I liken it to regular photos vs. digital photos. The regular photos may overtime fade but you can pretty much always see them. But, if you tend to store most of your digital photos on a hard drive or disk and that hard drive fails or the disk gets damaged then the pictures are just gone.

Video tapes get old and may not play with the best clarity after 20+ years but they are still viewable. In the digital world once damaged enough you just get nothing :(

Here is a google search: DVD shelf life (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=dvd+shelf+life)

Opinions are all over the board on this. Manufacturers state the shelf life is 100+ years for some formats, maybe 25+ for others. Then you read where people have experienced just 18 months or less of a shelf life. What piqued my curiousity was an article I read where a family had stored/transferred all of their pictures and videos on CDs/DVDs. When they had a large family event sometime later (2 years IIRC) and went to view the CDs and DVDs some of them wouldn't 'play'. I don't recall if the people went through any special precautions to safely store the CDs and DVDs but needless to say some of their memories were lost forever.

I started researching this awhile ago while looking into transferring all of my home video tapes of the kids etc to DVDs. After researching I decided to just leave the videos on tape and store them as appropriate. If I had the time I would probably burn copies to DVD, backup everything on an external hard drive, and if the vids weren't already on VHS tapes then make copies of the DVDs using VHS tapes with a combo DVD player/VHS recorder. I would only go through this for irreplaceable memories though :hill:.

Maybe some with more experience in this area will chime in and offer their thoughts as well. For now, I've got VHS tapes that are 15+ years old that work just fine still so I'm sticking with those.

01-30-2007, 11:57 AM
Thanks Dave cool reading at the Mam-a home site. later robbie

01-30-2007, 12:47 PM
Thanks Dave cool reading at the Mam-a home site. later robbie

x2 - Nice to know there are some CDs/DVDs out there that are supposed to last! I've got about 20 CDs that I burned backup info to from my old computer about 4 years ago. Only about 5 of them are readable now :eek: and they have been store indoors, in a box, tucked away in a closet. I have no idea what was on the bad ones so not knowing what I lost helps ease the pain :hill: