[3.12] How long do DVDs last?
DVDs are read by a laser, so they never wear out from being played since nothing touches the disc. Pressed discs (the kind that movies come on) will probably last longer than you will, anywhere from 50 to 300 years.
Expected longevity of dye-based DVD-R and DVD+R discs is anywhere from 20 to 250 years, about as long as CD-R discs. Some dye formulations (such as phthalocyanine and azo) are more stable and last longer, 100 years or more, compared to 20 or 30 years for less stable dyes.
The phase-change erasable formats (DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW) have an expected lifetime of 25 to 100 years.
In all cases, longevity can be reduced by poor quality. Poor quality pressed DVDs may deteriorate within a few years, and cheap recordable DVDs may produce errors when recording or may become unreadable after a while. (See 1.24 .)
For more info see Lifetime of KODAK CD-R Ultima Media and < www.ee.washington.edu/conselec/CE/kuhn/otherformats/95x9.htm >.
For comparison, magnetic media (tapes and disks) last 10 to 30 years; high-quality, acid-neutral paper can last 100 years or longer; and archival-quality microfilm is projected to last 300 years or more. Note that computer storage media often becomes technically obsolete within 20 to 30 years, long before it physically deteriorates. In other words, before the media becomes unviable it may become difficult or impossible to find equipment that can read it.