Video 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 to DVD:
– 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 video quality.
– DVDs are easy to use, and offer conveniences such as menus and chapters.
For a much longer explanation, see our Convert Tapes to DVD page.
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 for information.
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.