How long will my video tapes last? This is a question without a clear cut answer. How long the video tape will last depends on several factors including how they are handled and stored.
There are environmental conditions that will help your video tapes last longer or cause them to deteriorate faster. According to tests conducted by the major video tape manufactures, environmental conditions are key to video tape’s chemical stability. If the user keeps video tapes at 59 degrees and a humidity level of 40% to 60%, video tapes should last at least 15 years without significant degradation.
I don’t know about you but my video tapes have never been stored at 59 degrees and the humidity in Florida averages about 95%, so I guess degradation is more likely. In these same video tape tests it was stated that heat and moisture accelerate the breakdown of the organic materials in all video tape formulations.
Be sure to store your video tapes upright, like a book. If video tapes are laid down the tape can slide down the hub and damage the edge of the tape. The edge of video tape contains the control track. If the edge is damaged the video tape will not track and can become totally unusable. Storing video tape next to a magnetic source, such as a speaker, can actually erase a tape.
The bigger question may not be how long video tapes will last without significant signal loss, but how long will you be able to find the equipment to play them. VCR’s and other video tape players are becoming increasingly hard to find. If you still have your treasured family memories, important corporate video or valuable information stored on video tape, now is the time to convert VHS to DVD or digital files for safe storage and future use. Click here to visit our video tape to DVD transfers.