Have you ever worn out a favorite song? Are you old enough to remember when you could actually wear out a cassette tape? Or videotape?
Unlike digital media, videotapes degrade from use and over time. That means the family videos you’ve watched over and over again are showing their age. And if you think they’re safe because you haven’t played in them in two decades, think again. Once they’re about ten years old, videotapes even deteriorate in storage. The plastic base layer ages and the magnetic layer that holds the information begins to lose its magnetism.
Each type is a little different but the average videotape loses 20-30% of its information after 10-20 years. When you consider that VHS reached peak popularity in the late 80s, 8mm in the 90s and Digital8 and MiniDV in the early 2000s, it’s a safe bet that the tapes in your collection are forgetting things as quickly as you are.
The good news is that transferring them now to a digital format like MP4 will protect them from further deterioration and make them much easier to backup and share. It’s the single best way to guarantee that your legacy will be available for your next generation to enjoy.
Sorry, we can’t transfer your junior high love songs mixtape. And it’s probably better that way.