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Perth (08) 9375 3902

Aust.Wide 1300 4 PROCOPY

Postal Address:

ProCopy    Po Box 991,

Morley, WA. 6943

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How does storage affect your CD or DVD collection

We often get CDs or DVDs brought in to ProCopy that won't play or show physical signs of problems, the expectation is that they should be replaced under warranty or that it's a shock that they have failed to work. 

Right or wrong we have been given the misconception by manufatureres and the media industry that optical discs are indestructible and can withstand any poor handling or storage.

Certainly CDs and DVDs can withstand more problems that say a vinyl record due to their inbuilt error correction.  In a practical sense they tend to withstand bad scratches until they get to a 'fatal" condition where they then fail to play at all or exhibit mutes where smaller sections won't play properly. 

Leaving discs outside of the packaging, on table tops or on the floor of the car where they can get scratched are some of the most common problems we find. In some cases skimming the disc surface may help - it other circumstances where the label side has been damaged or you can see pin holes of light through the silver layer of the disc - then disc skimming will not fix the issues. In these cases the laser shines completely through the disc and isnt reflectd back to the sensor. So the electronics has no data to work with - hence the player will mute the audio or vision and in extreme cases stop playing altogether.

What's harder to determine is enviromental issues.

Here's recent example that was sent to us by a client:

DVD storage issuesThese DVDs are from the same batch, Manufactured in 2011. So currently 6 years old.

The top disc plays fine and is in good physical condition. It's been stored at our premises in reasonably good conditions, similar to a normal household, but not what you might call library or archive storage conditions.

The bottom disc was stored in a shed where there are extreme temperature variations from day to day and season to season. This has caused the formation of mold and discolouration. It turns out that the person moved to an area where summer temperatures can approach 40c and winter is around 0c. 

After 4-5 years some issues were noticed but they have accelerated in the last 2 years.

They were stored in their normal DVD cases and inside cardboard packing boxes. 

So in summary, to get the best lifespan out of your CDs, DVDs and BluRays treat them like any other fragile medium. Store them in their cases when not being used and handle the discs with care outside of the box. Do not leave them where they will be exposed to extremes of heat and cold like an outside facing wall, or a shed or roof storage, in essence avoid wide variations of temperatures and finally moisture.

If all else fails give us a call on 1300 4 PROCOPY or  08 9375 3902 and we'll see what we can recover