conversion to DVD is currently the best choice for preserving
home movies. But it's inevitable
that another format will come along to replace DVDs. But does
it have competition right now? Let's look at the advantages
of DVDs, and the benefits and drawbacks to its main competitors,
Mini DV tape, Blu-Ray (high definition) disc, and hard drives.
There are good reasons to transfer tape
– DVDs can be played repeatedly with no quality loss
or damage to the disc.
– The tough plastic construction of a DVD is hard to damage,
and is not susceptible to magnetic interference.
– DVDs are estimated to last up to 100 years.
– DVDs can be copied with no quality loss because they
are comprised of digital files.
– DVDs are small and inexpensive to copy or mail.
– The format has permeated the market fully; virtually
everyone has a DVD player.
– Because of consumer acceptance, DVDs will not become
obsolete for many years.
– The MPEG-2 encoding format used on DVDs offers excellent
– DVDs are easy to use, and offer conveniences such as
menus and chapters.
For a much longer explanation,
see our Convert
Timeless DVD is often asked about transferring
video to other formats. All of the following are excellent mediums,
but they do have drawbacks for preservation.
Mini DV: MiniDV is still a video tape, with
the same drawbacks. In fact, the tiny width of its plastic tape,
its less-durable metal evaporated technology used by the format,
and the delicate nature of Mini DV camcorders create a perfect
storm of potential problems. That said, Mini DV does offer excellent
quality for a transfer. It is particularly good for preserving
video for short-term use, such as footage you may want to edit
on your computer. Mini DV is the best second option for backing
up video after DVD.
Blu-Ray: Will Blu Ray be widely accepted or
primarily used by video enthusiasts? In any case, home video
transferred to a Blu-Ray disc will not look better than that
of a regular DVD, because video is an analog source.
Whether your video is transferred to DVD or Blu-Ray, it will
only look as good as the original tape. A regular DVD already
preserves 99% of the original quality, and Blu Ray transfer cannot
improve this. However, if Blu-Ray discs can provide more data
space than a regular DVD. See our Convert
to Blu-Ray page
Hard drives: Hard drives can be used to store
video files for a PC video transfer. But the drawback is failure
rate. Say you have all your home video on a hard drive, such
as a computer hard drive or a DVR. If that drive dies, all your
video is gone. Poof! Alternatively, if you have your video on
DVD discs, and have backup copies, you're in good shape even
if one disc breaks. Hard drives are good for storing DV video
for editing on your computer at a later date. But they are not
Therefore, copying VCR to DVD is the best current
solution. If you want to preserve your video in the best
way possible, we advise that you convert video tapes to DVD now,
make backup copies, store your original tape correctly, and transfer
the video to Mini DV and hard drives if desired. The more backups
you have, the better chances will be that your video will last
a lifetime . . . and beyond.