Some anecdotal DVD-R longevity data - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-01-2011, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Today I had occasion to rip to my network storage three of the very first disks I ever burned -- these DVD-R were burned 7 yr ago in July 2004. Ripping is a more stringent indicator of disk longevity than playing. All players have mechanisms to compensate for uncorrectable errors, which generally result in some momentarily corrupted pixels on the screen. You might never even notice them. PC ripping, on the other hand, is adamant about data fidelity. Uncorrectable errors are tabulated in the error count and the sector is re-read. If the uncorrectable error is hard and continues to result in a read fault, the rip is aborted after some predetermined error count limit is reached.

The three DVD-R were Memorex (ProdiscS03), Ritek (RITEKG04) and Maxell (MXL RG02). I used ImgBurn to rip the disks to .ISO using an LG GH22NP20 ($20 DVD burner) then verified the ripped .ISO against the DVD-R -- which is essentially ripping the disk twice and comparing the rips to each other.

These 7 yr old burns ripped/verified at 10X without a single tabulated error. Even 7 yr ago, Memorex and Ritek were considered low-end media -- I didn't start using T-Y until April 2005. My disks are stored in Tyvek sleeves in covered disk storage boxes. Since they are in my media room they are protected from excessive heat and direct sunlight and have only been played probably twice in their lifetime -- I never bother testing disks, that's too much work.

So here is some data that with proper storage even "crap" media can hold up to time.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #2 of 7 Old 10-01-2011, 04:39 PM
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I have many discs that were compusa blanks bought in 2002 that still play perfectly, and they were made on my first dmr-e20 recorder, these blanks cost over $5.00 at the time.

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post #3 of 7 Old 10-01-2011, 05:12 PM
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Thanks for sharing your data Kelson.
I was always an advocate for proper storage and handling, as I believe good storage and handling habits make a major difference in longevity for both tapes and discs.

It's refreshing to hear some positive info for a change. As I mentioned before my CD-Rs seem to be doing good even after 12 years and my DVD-Rs seem OK so far after 2 to 4 years. Although I just error check and play-out and don't have the detailed info of actual re-ripping as you have done.

Great news!
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-03-2011, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

Although I just error check and play-out and don't have the detailed info of actual re-ripping as you have done.

I don't rip my disks for testing but for playback. I'm pretty much done with using disks to play back any content. I have 8TB central NAS storage for all my .ISO files and media players on the TV's through the house. I've been enjoying BluRay content for close to 8 months and still don't have a BluRay player. My DVD-R & BD-R optical disks are now relegated to being the physical backups of my content. If I don't have to handle them and store them properly they will probably last well beyond my lifetime. I suspect that is the case here with many posters who just enjoy collecting and burn volumes of content well in excess of what they could ever watch. Those disks will likely never be handled and will stay pristine -- with proper storage they'll probably last a lifetime.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #5 of 7 Old 10-03-2011, 11:04 AM
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The problem here is where do you start counting the years? Someone who just started making DVD-Rs with a recorder this year is in a whole other universe compared to someone who started making DVD-Rs back in 2002 or CD-Rs in 2000. Blank media gets cheapened and ruined as time passes and consumers press for ever-lower prices. The fact that DVD-Rs we recorded in 2003 still test great has no bearing on the discs we're burning now, because the disc materials and factory quality control aren't the same. Even our precious TY and Verbatim have cut corners: they're still way better than average, but cannot hold a candle to their own forbears. The same thing happened (to a lesser extent) with VHS: I have $15 @ TDK SA-T120s from 1981 that will outlive me, and $3 @ TDK HS-T120s from 1999 that have already crapped out. We get what we pay for, in the long run.

Blank DVD media from 7-8 years ago was almost all of very high quality, so unless you used an out-of-spec or crap burner odds are good these discs will last quite some time in careful storage. But beginning around late 2005, the price wars sent blank DVD quality into the toilet: potential quality of initial burns was reduced, which impacts the discs ability to withstand degradation of the dye layer. And the dye layers themselves declined in initial quality, adding another negative. Unless you stuck exclusively to TY or Verbatim or the older better Sony formulation, you're gonna have some discs that degrade.

CD-R experience can give us some insight what to expect with DVD-R, but only up to a point: CD-R materials did not decline as fast or as badly, and did not cause nearly as many initial burn quality or compatibility issues. I have known-bad junk CD-Rs that still work after many years, but CD-R has a much lower data density so I would expect that as long as the thin data layer was not scratched. I've also got top-drawer CD-Rs from the same period that died on me, due to mfr flaws in the data layer protective coating. DVD media does not have this terrible thin protection layer, its a sturdier sandwich. But the 600% higher data density means any flaw in the organic dye layer causes much more trouble as time passes. So betting on any optical media is more a roll of the dice than anything else.

Still in all, my gut feeling agrees with Kelson: keep the optical discs as backup to HDD or other mass storage thats more convenient day-to-day. In spite of all the potential "gotchas," the beauty of discs is that they ARE individual: even if one or two or a bunch go bad, the majority of your collection should remain intact just by playing the odds (they can't ALL go bad at once, unless you used truly awful brands). If you're concerned about your favorites, or your rarest recordings, spread the risk by making backup dupes on other brands of good media. I've gone back and done this with about 20% of my collection, when I realized the TDK blanks I'd been using had switched from high-quality-TDK-origin to a junk OEM supplier. I duped my newer "not true TDKs" onto Sony 8x media, and when that ran out used Verbatim and TY 8x. If you have two good but totally distinct disc brands covering your most important recordings, one or the other (preferably both) will prove archival. Good blanks are affordable enough to make this a habit.
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-03-2011, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

The problem here is where do you start counting the years? Someone who just started making DVD-Rs with a recorder this year is in a whole other universe compared to someone who started making DVD-Rs back in 2002 or CD-Rs in 2000 . . . The fact that DVD-Rs we recorded in 2003 still test great has no bearing on the discs we're burning now, because the disc materials and factory quality control aren't the same.

Through the years, I too have thought about the point you make. Media has changed as they went to new dye formulations for higher write speeds and I think your point is especially valid concerning the use of DVD recorders with their notoriously cheap burners and static burner firmware. You've made the statement in numerous posts that you feel today's media is more geared to the abundant PC burners in the market than those in relatively rare DVDR's. It would certainly make sense for that to be the case. In my case, I have always done all my video burning on a PC with decent burners that I replace every 3 yr or so -- they are so cheap (a good LG DVD burner is a mere $20, a BD burner is only $80) and I use them heavily, so I just replace them before they start to give me any trouble and the firmware of a new burner is more in tune with current media.

Actually, even 7 yr ago, Memorex and Ritek were considered crap media so that hasn't changed much -- actually Ritek has taken a step up in the ratings since then. Yet I don't seem to be having any problems ripping them to my NAS with modern PC burners. I do feel that with proper storage and virtually no handling, optical media I've burned with PC drives will retain it's data through the years. I'm not convinced there is anything inherently wrong or unreliable with optical media.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #7 of 7 Old 10-03-2011, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Still in all, my gut feeling agrees with Kelson: keep the optical discs as backup to HDD or other mass storage thats more convenient day-to-day. In spite of all the potential "gotchas," the beauty of discs is that they ARE individual: even if one or two or a bunch go bad, the majority of your collection should remain intact just by playing the odds (they can't ALL go bad at once, unless you used truly awful brands).

And the key words are they ARE individual That is the reason I never seriously thought of backing up my DVD-Rs to regular non-raided HDD discs. We all know that HDDs don't last forever and I'd hate to lose 2TB of material all at once. That's why for about a year now I was seriously thinking of mirroring all my discs on Raid-5, knowing that if one HDD fails without warning - you have other HDDs to take up the slack as long as you quickly replace the bricked HDD. The only problem is that I haven't really explored all the gotchas of a Raid-5 system. Now I'm open to exploring other back up ideas, including cloning all my DVD-R discs or renting server space on a respectful site that guarantees against data loss and dumping ISOs on there.

As to CD-R media I have fairly long-term experience with it as I've been archiving on CD-R since about 1998 or so. In my experience the quality of my CD-R burns is getting better, not worse. I'm not saying the blank media is better (although it could be) but I can say with certainty that burning software and hardware running on Windows XP runs a lot better than on Windows 98 - what I used for many years before XP. Example: With Win98 and my old hardware/software at least one out of every 30 discs would not finish burning and finalising a disc. Since I stated using XP with more modern burners like my $20 LG I honestly can't remember the last time a burn crapped out on me. As for longevity tests, as I said each and every one of my Fuji, Sony, Maxell and Memorex CDrs still play back without any problems - and I rotate discs in my van daily.

Since I started archiving on CD-R - on the Internet I've been hearing the same horror stories of data loss - yet I play my discs daily and (aside from some no-name discs) I have not lost a single disc to data loss in the 12 or so years I've been archiving on CD-R. Not a single disc as long as the discs finalised OK. I have no long-term DVD-R statistics but in the fours years on PC and two years on stand-alone archiving I have yet to lose a single disc to data loss. I have a few hundred CD-Rs and a few hundred DVD-Rs.

I am the odd ball archiver at this forum. I say this for two reasons. 1) I archive less than most people here, I have less than 600 video programs archived but my archives go back to 1979 (bought used X-rentals) and 1981 or so when I started using company gear on my free time a few years before I bought my first VCR. But I am an odd ball mostly because I actually play my archives almost on a daily basis, I will pop in a concert. Since it's music I may do other things at the same time - like writing this post but I do get a good idea of the shape of my aging archives and I do sit through whole concerts often as well.

My tapes see waaaaay more play-time than the tapes of your average collection owner. Reasons 1) I actually play my tapes 2) Some of my tapes are X-rentals that probably had a minimum of 100 plays before I took over the tapes 3) I would time-shift on a tape for a long time until I would actually use the tape to archive. I swear to you guys that not a single one of my tapes have deteriorated to the point of not playable. I dropped two VHS tapes and broke the door and I dropped one beta tape and had to retire it because it would no longer play properly. Other than that some of my tapes have short spots (under two seconds of a random glitch or the odd spot of a few drop-outs ( a few white speckles) those last under two seconds. I have been archiving on SVHS-ET (using VHS tapes in SP to record a SVHS signal) until late August 2009 so I have the newest of the new TDK-EHG, Maxell-HG, BASF-SHG, Fuji-PRO, Fuji-Master, and a few Sonys. Again, I have all the years of VHS media -from the early eighties to the last VHS tapes manufactured and other than a few minor glitches and dropouts not a single tape has crapped out on me.

So different people have different experiences.
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