Entertainment doesn’t last forever

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As an avid collector of music, movies and television shows, I have come to the conclusion that there’s no format available that will keep a library forever.

And here’s why. Last week I decided to re-watch “Deadwood.” If you’re unfamiliar with the HBO show, it’s loosely based on the establishment of a town by the same name in the late 1800s. That being said it’s worth watching more than once, when the DVDs work that is.

But there’s a problem. The DVDs, for some reason, have proven to be an unreliable way to archive any title in a library. This fact became evident as I loaded up disk one of season one.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Skipping and failure to play some episodes plagued not one disk, but several. So much so, completing a run through the entire three season series was abandoned halfway through season one.

Since no obvious signs of damage were evident, neither in scratches nor evidence of the dreaded disk rot, I can’t explain what’s caused the issue. What is evident is that repurchasing an expensive set, this time on Blu-Ray, may be the only resolution. And there’s no guarantee that format is immune to the problem.

So, what caused the DVDs to fail? Searching the Internet has only pointed to disk rot, which is when spots of the reflective layer shed or discoloring occurs either in the center or edge of the disk.

My disks show no signs of either, but they still don’t work.

I’m not alone in the observation that, just like CDs, DVDs don’t last forever. Representatives with the Library of Congress have come to the same conclusion.

Some may suggest that digital as the alternative to ensure copies of music and movies keep forever. But, hard drives and solid state drives also fail.

Ultimately, there’s no one way to keep a copy of a movie, album, or television show indefinitely. You will end up buying it again. Maybe the next format will be usable for longer than 10 to 20 years.