DVD lifetime

I have some questions about the lifetime of DVD-R discs, how long is it?
How many years are the datas safe on a DVD-R?
I have heared that it helps to let some free space on the end of a DVD, how much would be recomended?


Lifetime of DVD media, of optical media in general is unknown, despite the manufacturers claims of 100+ years as the media hasn’t been around long enough for anyone to be able to verify such claims.

From my own experience and what I’ve seen, a lot of media, especially the cheaper kind, can have problems after the 4GB point so that maybe a safe compromise limit. I’m sure others have their own view on this point.

These guys are doing testing that should be done in a year or two. Keep checking back.


Longevity depends on so many variables (quality of the media, quality of the burn, storing, care and handling) that it’s impossible to reply to your question.

Some media (notably Ritek G05) are known for degrading very rapidly, some other (most MCC/Verbatim) seem to be pretty stable. These are just examples.

Life expectancy should be IMO somewhere between 6 months in the worst cases, and 15 years or more with excellent media, burned properly, stored properly and handled with care. Don’t quote me on this (“15 years or more”) though, this is conjecture based on my personal experience and periodic re-testing of my own media. No one can tell for sure! :frowning:

Optical media in general has already existed for more than 20 years, something people seem to forget. If stored properly and taken care of, optical discs will last decades. To be completely safe, and to take full advantage of the ability to make lossless copies, it is suggested you make new ones every 10 years or so, maybe more often if you’re paranoid.

While some people can claim media dies in months, their results are almost always (99% or more of the time) actually related to other issues or lack of initial proper testing altogether (“proper” meaning more than just PI/PIE stuff, which has limited value). No disc should ever die in under 10-20 years unless it was either mistreated (not taken care of, not stored correctly) or misproduced (meaning it was bad before it was burned, be it dyes or glues).

Nobody can give an exact date, and nobody ever can. It will always be a range, just like anything else in the world.

Buy good discs (TY, MXL, MCC, etc) and then store then in cases at room temperature and you won’t have troubles.

Glad to see that you finally agree with this, Lordsmurf. :slight_smile:

Is there any correlation between PI/PIE test results and disc longevity? If not, what tests are good indicators of disc longevity?

I’ve seen some threads that mention storing the discs with silica gel to keep the relative humidity around the discs low. Any comments on this?

Well of course, there is a direct correlation between PIE/PIF test results and lifespan, in a limited way. Supposed we had two discs, both physically identical, except one, for some reason, burned signifigantly better than the other. Well, the better burned disc would have more headroom for an increase in errors (as is normal in the aging process), and thus, theoretically, would have a longer lifespan.

It’s a lot trickier comparing different makes/models/brands/grades etc, but good initial burn quality is always a good thing. :iagree:

Not true, Ritek G05 gives a great initial burn and then can degrade very quickly.

geoff it depends the above example of G05, I have recieved a better initial scann after a burn than with my Verbs, but the Ritek disc is unreadable after about 6 months to 1 year, give or take a couple of months. Yet a Verb can go on for a lot longer. It is by watching for increases over time between scans of the same disc that we can see how it is degreading. Longevity can not be guessed at from scans alone.

The indicators of possible longevity is quality and makers that have a name for producing quality media.

lord I would support your initial statement but for one thing, for us the ability to write discs has not been on the go for 20 years. The production methods of pressed DVDs and those we use is different, therefore we can’t go by how long optical media has been available.

Mmhhh… I think you reply to a statement that [Buck] actually didn’t make :wink: - I’m pretty sure that his point was not that if the original burn is good, the disc will have a good lifespan. :disagree:

@[B]Geoff2k[/B]: scanning allows to control the degradation rate of the media, if you re-scan after some time and compare the scans. That’s what I do. But you need to use the exact same drive to do this, or the results can be totally misleading. Also don’t draw conclusions from small differences, scanning is in no way a very accurate way of testing discs as the errors reported are [I]a result of the reading process[/I], and not a measurement of errors on a disc (contrary to popular belief).

You can also keep an eye on the accelerated aging tests performed by the german magazine C’t. You can find transcriptions there.

The problem with these tests is that they include light-induced degradation, so media very sensitive to light can have bad results though in real-world, with proper storing, they should be totally OK. I suspect this is the case with TYG02. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting perspective to add to the overall picture. :slight_smile:

True, true, I could have misread what was meant.

There are just so many variables realy, scans are just a tool used to keep an eye on things and shouldn’t be taken as 100% correct so shouldn’t be the be all and end all on whether a disc has hit the relms of coasterdom or not.

Certainly! There is no way to tell from the PIE/PIF levels when a disc reaches “coasterdom” (LOL).
But re-scanning on a regular basis can reveal the degradation [I]rate[/I] so one can take measures before it’s too late.

Personally, out of precaution, any batch showing significant degradation in the first six months gets re-burnt. Fortunately, since I stopped using Ritek discs last year, this hasn’t happened much, actually only once, with a marginal batch of Ricohjpnr01. About all the discs I use since early 2005 are stable… :cool: - even those with originally so-so burns in terms of PIE/PIF.

Of course, I store them properly (opaque DVD-style cases, vertical storing) and handle them carefully, which I think plays a very important part (if not the most important part) in this whole issue. :wink: - I recently gave several burnt DVDR movie discs to a friend of mine, and two months later the discs had reading issues. After some investigation, I found he simply left the discs out of the cases since day one, among the clutter of his desk… beer stains, fingerprint-smudges and scratches made the rest. :rolleyes:

Don’t want to go too off topic, but I’m just curious how bad this marginal batch of RICOHJPNR01 is. So far, I’ve come across three 6-12 month old Sony branded RICOHJPNR01 that were getting pretty close to unreadability, with huge amounts of PIF in the last few hundred mb. My [I]good[/I] ones are fantastic, though.

It’s an exception among my jpnr01. I bought 10 boxes of 5 discs in jewel cases (Ricoh-branded) in october 2005, from SVP. All are totally stable except the 5 discs from 1 box, that degraded almost as fast as some G05 that I had. :frowning:
Stamper on these discs: D1109A30[B]608[/B]R
Serial of one of these 5 discs: K3700661E604RS3071020C0169, in rather large fonts.

The other (stable) discs:

  • all have a serial printed with a smaller font
  • have a stamper code D1109A30[B]016[/B]R

Whatever. Ritek manufactured these for Ricoh, so occasional lousy manufacturing is (was) to be expected. :rolleyes:

Could you please provide some links to good scanning software.

Thanks Franck.

For those interested, here are the serials of my bad RICOHJPNR01 before I sent them back to Sony:

defective Sony RICOHOJPNR01 #1
hub serial: K4102220E602RS4012305D05771
mirror band: D1109A32018R

defective Sony RICOHJPNR01 #2
hub serial: K4103027C403RS4012217C06271
mirror band: D0403A21613R

defective Sony RICOHJPNR01 #3
hub serial: K4102218E601RS4012210D05029
mirror band: D1109A32013R

I only had 15 discs from 3 packs to begin with, so a failure rate of 20% is pretty bad. There may be more bad ones too, as I gave at least a few away. The mirror bands on #1 and 3 look pretty similar, but the #2 is totally different. Something makes me think this is NOT an isolated incident, and that batches with “lousy manufacturing” are not rare.

Again, sorry to OwenBurnett for taking this thread so off topic. :flower:

Try looking here, it’s right at the top of the page: http://club.cdfreaks.com/forumdisplay.php?f=96