How Long Do Videotapes Last?
It depends, but videotapes generally begin to decay anywhere from 10 to 25 years of age. Understand that tapes which were hardly played and/or were kept at an optimum temperature/humidity will likely be at the upper end of the range, while tapes that got a lot of use and/or were subject to dust, dirt, and extreme environments should be expected to fall on the low end.
Additionally, there are various grades of tape from consumer to broadcast quality that have different particle densities and manufacturing tolerances. Some of the earliest tapes were more durable than the thin, cheap ones that flooded the market in the 90s. Add to that the complications of oxide shedding and tape-eating bacteria, and it becomes nearly impossible to know when a tape is truly done for.
We clearly have a vested interest in wanting you to convert your video tapes, after all, it’s a big part of our business. We get it, if you’d rather not take our word for it. We encourage you will take the time to do some research if you’d like to verify what we’re telling you. You’ll find the same information on the internet.