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Ability to play DVD's in 20 years?


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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   george fr

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Posted January 27 2008 - 08:37 PM

what do you think the chances are of us being able to play dvd's in say 20 years time.VHS lasted about 20-25 years,you can still play tapes now from then.The DVD format has been around for about 10 years now.But do any of us want to spend still 1000's of dollars to rebuy stuff that we had on VHS (STAR TREK anyone),in yet another format in even 10 years.Hell,just 5 years after the release of Star trek original,they are expecting us to buy it again on HD for $130 dollars a season.I don't know about you guys but I wanted to keep dvd's until I died (I'm 37),50 yrs?,yeah right.I think the next big thing for me is tv on demand via internet.

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted January 27 2008 - 09:10 PM

I believe that dvd's will be the last software format in which movies will be available to own. Your probably right about the On Demand thing. Maybe ten years from now everything you could possibly want will be available On Demand, but I really don't think dvd is going anywhere for along time. People love to buy movies on dvd(with special features, there is much more appeal than vhs). 30 years from now you may not be able to buy dvd's from big studios, but I'm sure you'll be able to buy the dvd players. You can still buy turntables to spin vinyl, and look at how long records albums have been dead.

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#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Venice-H

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Posted January 28 2008 - 12:34 AM

My opinion is that DVDs are a few years away from oblivion. On Demand will take away some of it, but IMO the real revolution will come with memory sticks/flash cards that you can either plug into a multimedia device attached to the TV or into the TV itself. At first, TV series would be split into seasons like they are with DVDs, but instead of juggling 2-10 disks per season, there would be just one stick or card. And a few years after that, the technology would evolve so that a series of any length could fit on one device, with space for all the extras you could ever want. But DVD players will be around for a long time. Vinyl LP players are still easy enough to find, and that technology is much older.
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#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 28 2008 - 01:15 AM

These are some good questions. I still play numerous VHS tapes weekly (I bought many of them in the early 1980s, and all are still working very well). I own around 2,500 LPs and use many of them every week in my profession and in my personal use, so I have a couple of turntables at work and at home.

We have four DVD players at present. Some of these are old, and some are new. I recently purchased my first code-free player, which I love. I am seriously thinking of buying a couple more of these (same make and model) so that I will have this capability for as long as I can, and because the one I have was purchased rather inexpensively.

george fr:
I agree. Won't it be quite a day when an entire series is on one stick or disc? I have speculated about this for years. All of this being said, I suppose I could see an entire series being bought again by me if I had money to burn. Posted Image

#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted January 28 2008 - 03:02 AM

I don't think it is a factor of "will I be able to play the DVDs in 20 years" but more of a "will a DVD last for 20 years". I've had DVDs that I bought a few years ago that have failed. You put them in the player, and they spin and spin and aren't recognized. I've had DVD-Rs that have failed after only a couple years. Things I've recorded off TV, and they are now gone. Plus, a DVD can get accidentally scratched up and it is gone. So, while the format may be around, you can probably buy players, but will the technology still be playable is a better question.

#6 of 21 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted January 28 2008 - 03:37 AM


Yeah, that's one advantage that tape has over disc: durability over the long haul. You get a troublesome spot on the tape, you can always splice it out and the rest of the tape is still good. Just one little defect on the disc, however, is enough to make the whole thing unreadable.

I have some VHS tapes in my collection that are now thirty years old, and still play fine. Will we be able to say the same thing about DVDs (burnt or pressed)? I sure hope so, but I'm a bit skeptical (especially when it comes to burnt ones).

#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Elena S

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Posted January 28 2008 - 05:39 AM

Someone needs to invent a better technology than DVDs. They're obviously not as "foolproof" as originally believed, and are in fact so sensitive to fingerprints, scratches, etc., as to be rendered unplayable. It would seem that memory sticks/flash drives are the way to go (although I have had a flash drive fail, so maybe no format is safe?). There has to be a better type of medium than DVDs.

#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted January 28 2008 - 07:23 AM

I think everyone is jumping to the wrong conclusion. First, DVD's can't be based on the VHS format because DVD's have a longer shelf capacity than VHS did and the format will continue to remain popular as a home video format for those who really cannot afford or have access to online on-demand services or cable services. I expect that DVD format will last much longer than the VHS format because the DVD format will actually continue to be sold side by side with the Hi-Def format. Secondly, the DVD format will not be the last physical media format. As long as there are television sets being made the physical media format will be in demand for around another 30-40 years. The Hi-Def format, HD-DVD & Blu Ray are the next physical media format. DVD is not the last format. Finally, while most everyone here is into home entertainment, there is a large portion of consumers who cannot afford media downloads, as in television and movie home entertainment, and video-on-demand services. Apparently, no one takes into account those low-income families who make up a large portion of consumers who rely on rentals of home video entertainment or who purchase low priced entertainment that rely on this physical media.

#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted January 28 2008 - 07:47 AM

I'm siding with Jon in that it may not be the players, but the media that is unreadable in 20 years. I too have had many disc failures from manufacturing defects, and I suspect that HD media will be even more prone to failure given the higher densities involved. Disc based content will be phased out by solid state technologies or "on demand", which will be cheaper to produce and distribute. There is no practical reason why rentals couldn't be accomodated via download, and while it would put places like Blockbuster out of business, the studios stand to gain billions in revenue selling direct. I don't see this would have any impact on low income households unless the rental pricing dramatically increased. Disc based rentals are far worse than tape ever was.

#10 of 21 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted January 28 2008 - 09:04 AM


Our concerns are not about how long the format will last, but how long the actual discs will remain in a working, playable state. This isn't about shelf capacity (if you're talking about storage space) or popularity, it's about whether or not DVDs will prove stable enough that in 30 years time, they still play, or will we be getting disc errors? Personally, I don't trust DVD-Rs (i.e. "burnt" media) to last that long, after hearing from other people about their problems with them. Actual "pressed" media probably has a better chance (and have proven to be more durable than burnt discs), but since DVDs haven't been around for 30 years, we have no actual proof that they are that durable. We have this proof for consumer videotape, since it has actually been around more than 30 years (and as I said above, I have some VHS tapes that date back to 1978 that still play fine).

If you were talking about shelf life, though, as I said above, the format hasn't been around long enough to prove the theoretical shelf life the developers have determined. VHS outlived its projected shelf life. DVD just might, too, or it could fall short. We won't know 'til we get there.

#11 of 21 OFFLINE   David Levine

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Posted January 28 2008 - 10:01 AM

Bandwidth. It needs to get uniformly MUCH faster and MUCH cheaper for that to work. Especially if you start talking true HD content. That's a lot of info to push through a small pipeline.

#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted January 28 2008 - 12:22 PM

The pipeline is growing rapidly, and there is already an HD mandate for broadcast. In 10-20 years bandwidth won't be an issue, especially as new compression techniques come on line. There is also nothing to say that any rental system needs to be VOD. Files could be downloaded to a local storage device overnight for playback during the week. There are many ways to make this happen, and I am sure that public demand will be there, especially if it means an end to commuting to a video store, or facing late fees.

#13 of 21 OFFLINE   David Levine

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Posted January 28 2008 - 01:19 PM

When you put the 10-20 years caveat in there, I totally agree. I just don't think we're going to see anything other than a form of DVD be the primary media for the next 10 years. We're a long ways away from everyone having what is considered "hi speed" internet, let alone something that will allow for HD quality at anything resembling a reasonable speed.

#14 of 21 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted January 28 2008 - 02:09 PM

I wouldn't even bet on bandwidth either. The current setup for the internet and for broadband is on an unstable system already. I don't know where I read the article, but there were several online articles discussing the matter on how fragile the capability of the internet was and how video services such as You Tube, Google Video and other online streaming sites were using too many resources and how the internet itself needs a huge upgrade.

These articles go on to report on how these online video services are sucking up too much of the bandwidth used by ISP customers ... and how some ISP's are throttling their bandwidth for those customers who continue to absorb a large number of their broadband capability. Some of these ISP's are putting together TIER's of broadband accounts that give a certain amount of broadband usage per month ... but while they are putting together these tiers, they aren't upgrading their broadband capabilities despite their services being touted as unlimited.

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#15 of 21 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted January 28 2008 - 04:03 PM

No media is foolproof. Whether it be LPs to HDM discs. I have dvds from 1997 that play flawlessly. I have cds from as far back as 1986 that still play great. Disc based media has a very good lifespan so far. Records get scratched and ruined. Tapes can fail and look like crap over time as well. Just because some people have problems let's not doom the whole format.
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#16 of 21 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted January 28 2008 - 10:17 PM

For those who have vhs tapes still playing well, good for you. But for me, it was having to rebuy films on vhs tape cause they'd go bad, that first got me into laser disc way back when. Each time you play a tape, it degrades. A dvd might get scratched, etc., but it doesn't degrade due to playback.
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#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted January 28 2008 - 11:50 PM

Something else to keep in mind: The 5 inch disc has been the standard delivery system for 25 years now, with the introduction of the CD circa 1982-83. Most people - especially most people here - have accumulated hundreds, if not thousands, of these little shiny discs, and billions have been produced worldwide. That's far more than LPs or VHS tapes. It's in the interests of hardware manufacturers to continue to make use of the 5 inch disc format. Any other format will have a harder time catching on. (A recent conversation I had with someone who was thinking of getting a BluRay player: "You mean I can play all my old DVDs and CDs on it? I'm definitely getting it.")

#18 of 21 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted January 29 2008 - 12:45 AM

And again, I'm mainly talking about home-recordable media, not more sturdy studio-manufactured fare. I know in my own experience that burnt music CDs aren't as stable as pressed ones, and that even the lightest of scratches can ruin them. Well, the same thing can happen with burnt DVDs. Also, my big concern is not with pre-recorded movies, but with tapes/discs of family home videos, things recorded from TV, etc. that can be irreplaceable if they fall victim to media failures. To those of you who are/have converted all your old home videos over to DVD: I hope, for your sake, you didn't throw all your old original tapes into the trash after you transferred them. I'd be very, very afraid to trust my only copy of something to a DVD+/-R disc. I have converted old home movies, etc. to disc, but I have retained the original tapes, too, just in case something goes wrong somewhere down the road.

#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Hank Dearborn

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Posted January 29 2008 - 05:10 AM

Tapes do not "go bad" due to playback. That's patently false. I can't speak for prerecorded tapes because I never had many of those but off-air records do not degrade due to playing. At least not decent brands of tape. If you are talking Memorex or BASF or some other horrible brands, played in $59 bottom of the line VCRs, then maybe. And some of the early RCA tapes from the late 70s have a lot of dropouts now, but not due to play but because they weren't well manufactured. Most of my tapes that I've used are TDK or Fuji high grades and they play great in my SVHS VCRs. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. If you use cheap tape in cheap machines then obviously you are going to have more problems than if you use quality material. Unfortunately many of the prerecorded tapes were not on very good tape stock to begin with and that may be part of the problem.

#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 29 2008 - 05:42 AM

I haven't begun converting, but I may one day solely for archival purposes. I retain every format, regardless of its age. Although I am very careful with the media I own, I have had far more difficulty with DVDs being damaged and subsequently having to be replaced than I have had with VHS tapes, and I have had the majority of my VHS tapes for almost twice as long as my DVDs. I appreciate both formats, and depending on what I am viewing (and in the arena of sound recordings, on what I am listening to) I tend to choose one format over another for a variety of reasons. For my own part, I liken it (VHS/DVD) somewhat to the advent of television. It did not replace radio, but rather, displaced it.




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