Most likely you have some old VHS tapes sitting at home that you probably haven’t watched in quite a few years. You may be asking yourself do they still even work? Or how can I preserve these memories for the future? There have been major advances in the types of media we use to record and play movies, mostly revolving around the evolution from tapes to DVD’s. Optical media, i.e. CD and DVD, were developed to address many of the issues tapes presented and can be the solution to those VHS stacks in your living room. Here are some basic facts about tape and DVD and the life expectancy of each medium.


Tapes are pretty fragile pieces of equipment that can be easily damaged, subsequently losing the contents. Equipment can easily harm tapes if not maintained properly and everyone has probably dealt with the dreaded problem of a tape being “eaten” by equipment at some point. This erases the contents of the tape, not to mention it is extremely frustrating. Tapes have a lifespan of approximately 10-30 years because they are open to the elements and oxygen and humidity damage metals as they age.


Optical media, i.e. CD, DVD, was developed to combat the problems associated with tapes and to have a much longer lifespan. Optical discs last longer because the data portion of the disc does not come into direct contact with any mechanical reader parts. This eliminates the possibility of damage being done to the disc while being played. DVD’s also have a layer of polycarbonate to protect the foil, also shielding the data from humidity and oxygen for a longer period of time than tapes. Optical media lasts for approximately 25-50 years, allowing you plenty of time to enjoy the contents and also transfer it to the next advanced format that becomes available.

While consumer formats of tapes like VHS start to degrade within 10-25 years, this doesn’t mean they will suddenly become dysfunctional. Don’t suddenly panic about transferring all your old VHS tapes to DVD, however, now is probably a good time to start thinking about it before they approach the end of their life cycle. DVD’s will allow you to actually watch old home movies since most people have easier access to DVD players than VHS players these days. Instead of having a stack of tapes in the corner you will be able to watch, enjoy, and share memories with family and friends.

If you think its time to upgrade your old home movies, contact The Studio to find out more about our transfer service. We can help you preserve all your memories, allowing you to enjoy them for many years to come.