How long does a magnetic tape last?
Popular belief has always been that the information stored on videotape is permanent. Magnetic tape (cassettes, VHS and camcorder tapes) has allowed us to document and replay our history. Nevertheless, magnetic media has a very limited life span, and your priceless sounds and images will soon be lost forever!
The truth is, videotape is not forever. Unlike movie film — which can last for decades — videotape is far more fragile. In fact, no magnetic recording medium is permanent
All magnetic tape older than 15 years is in serious jeopardy! The greatest problem with videotape is that over time it will breakdown. Breakdown occurs when the binder that holds the magnetic particles to the polyester base on the tape decays. As the breakdown process progresses, the tapes become extremely difficult to play. The problem may be so severe that the magnetic material literally falls off, leaving a pile of dust and clear tape. People have actually opened a tape box to find a box full of oxide dust- rust.
FACTS ABOUT VIDEO TAPE:
1. Video quality deteriorates each time you watch.
2. Video quality will deteriorate after 10 years, even if you do not watch them.
3. Your VCR can destroy your tape when it malfunctions.
4. Analog videotape (from the 20th century), like VHS tapes, will not last as long as digital tape.
5. Digital tape is better, but it has an expected useful life of only 20 years if stored under ideal conditions.
WHY ARE DVD’S BETTER?
DVD’s are better because they are the next generation in media. It is expected that a DVD will maintain video quality for 100+ years (though we used to think that about video and audio tapes, too!). Your saved digital images on DVD will then be available for the next evolution in media for future saving.
FACTS ABOUT DVD:
1. Digital standard for the 21st century.
2. DVD video quality is superior to tape.
3. DVD audio quality is superior to tape.
4. DVD video quality will not deteriorate, no matter how many times it is watched.
5. A DVD may last 100 years or more.
6. DVD’s are sealed and have no moving parts (unlike tapes).
7. DVD’s are easier to handle, use, and store.
8. DVD’s can be copied without loss of signal, digitally.
9. DVD’s can be played on home computers with DVD drives and on most DVD players.
Call or stop in to Studio 91 to see how we can help you preserve your memories.