Has DVD at last bitten the dust?

VHS, Betamax, VHS-C and Video-8 Video Cassettes

Is archiving your VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Betamax and Video8 video tapes to DVD on the way out?

We’re not buying DVD discs like we used to and we appear to be racing towards the format’s obsolescence. Is that why demand for video to DVD transfers has dropped?

Scan the shelves of your entertainment store or – more likely – those of your local charity shop and you can’t help but notice that film and TV titles on DVD now come three-a-penny.

It wasn’t that many years ago that we were saying the same about the good old VHS cassette; how can the 1970s analogue videocassette-based format possibly compete with those new shiny discs containing pristine quality digital pictures and sound? It didn’t, of course, and these days it’s unlikely that your average charity shop will accept them either.

And that’s the way the DVD is heading. Fast. The simple fact is that many of us are either downloading or streaming our TV and film content, and for those of you who wish to archive videotape-based home movie content to a digital format before it’s too late, DVD is no longer the storage format of choice.

Declining demand for discs

In 2016, we saw a 50% fall in demand for video to DVD transfers of analogue video content to DVD disc; home and professional users alike have now come to realise that DVD is no longer the future-proof format it was once thought to be.

Image of Video to DVD transfer discs on desk

A thing of the past? A client’s order of VHS to DVD transfers ready for collection.

In the first quarter of 2017, the demand for DVD transfers dropped even further and today the majority of our home video transfers will end up as MPEG-4/H.264 either on a USB stick, portable hard drive or via our WeTransfer dropbox-style online delivery service.

From the point of view of our customers, this can be a good thing. For a start, it’s cheaper for you to obtain your video transfers as MP4 files on flash media or via online delivery methods. Secondly, you’ll then have video files that can be copied at will and given to friends, family members or colleagues at will. With many of us now taking advantage of the cloud-based storage opportunities that come with broadband packages it’s easy to store MP4 video files in your personal cloud and give others links to them in order that they can download them. This makes all of your digital content so much more accessible than with DVD discs.

What’s the advantage of MP4 video files?

The files we tend to create for our customers in this respect are actually MPEG-4/H.264 files. These are files that use a codec (compression/decompression) system that’s very efficient at compressing a lot of high quality picture and sound data into a relatively small file. This H.264 encoded file is then wrapped as MPEG-4, which itself is now ubiquitous in that it’s used everywhere; your mobile phones and tablets can view MPEG-4 easily, as can all media players on computers. Social media sharing sites can easily handle MPEG-4, and even some professional video archives use MPEG-4 t archive video and film content. And, of course, the majority of phones, tablets, cameras and camcorders use a variant of MPEG-4 to record and replay video content.

So, when you’re pondering the problem of how to archive your precious videotaped memories, consider the advantage of having them as MPEG-4 files over conventional video to DVD transfers. Our file-based transfers provide very good value for money, too, as it happens!

This entry was posted in Digital Video Archiving, Digitising, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply