Tips on Your DVD Care

DVD’s quickly exploded onto the market and people everywhere were scurrying to replace their VHS tapes with DVDs. They do not come without their problems, though. The following lists some tips for keeping your DVDs in good working order and describes some common problems that you may find in your DVD collection.

These tips are designed to help you keep you DVDs in top condition. Following these tips will not guarantee your DVDs will last forever, but will prevent them from becoming damaged unnecessarily.

1. Don’t put them in direct sunlight, or let them sit in hot rooms. Both of these will cause the Mylar film that the data is written on to delaminate, hastening the aging process.

2. Don’t scratch them. Much like CD-ROMs, scratches (and even dust) can render a DVD-ROM unreadable. It’s even worse for DVD-RWs, which “erase” data by filling in some of the holes in the Mylar, and overwrite existing files by filling and reburning the patterns of holes in the Mylar layer.

3. Make sure they’re in their cases when not in use. This is the number one cause of DVD failure, especially in houses with children, who tend to leave their DVDs out on the floor, spill soda on them, and in general act as children do.

4. Make backups. If you’ve got a DVD-R, make backups of your most important DVDs -like your children’s favorite movie – so that the original can be kept in a climate controlled room in the dark, to make more duplicates of when the children destroy the disk by squabbling.

5. Burn to DVD-R for archival purposes, and long term archival purposes, rather than DVD-RW. Because the media that’s written to is thicker, DVD-Rs tend to age better than DVDs.

6. Back it up to a secondary hard drive that’s kept off site.

Of course, to get the most out of your DVD-R drive, you’ll need to keep the drive mechanism cleaned up and well dusted, and buying higher quality (archival quality) media is something to consider – though the formats themselves haven’t been round long enough to know if the archival media gives a significant edge in long term readability.

Common problems you may experience with your DVDs are related both to use and manufacturing. The protective film on the underside of the DVD can bubble up or start to peel away. This problem can be due to manufacturing issues or from heat, stacking the DVD or rubbing against the surface. When this occurs the DVD becomes useless as the player can not read it. Any scratches will immediately make the DVD useless. Another big problem comes from bending the DVD. DVDs are made in layers and bending them can cause these layers to separate.

Most people invest much time and money into their collection and by following these simple tips you can avoid common problems that would make your DVD collection useless.

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