The Skinny on Tape Deterioration

The Skinny on Tape Deterioration

vcr-tapeI’d like to address a topic we get quite a few questions about:
video tape deterioration.

Questions like:

-does video tape actually deteriorate?
-how concerned should I be about my video deteriorating?
-how long before any deterioration occurs to my tapes?

The answers to the above begin with the unfortunate news that video tape does indeed deteriorate. The reason for tape deterioration is largely chemical and due to the fact videos are made of a magnetic imaging material. Due to a number of factors, this magnetic material breaks down over time. Noticeable deterioration of video generally occurs between 10-15 years into the life of the tape. Here are some things to look for when playing an older tape to tell if it’s begun to deteriorate.

Tape deterioration symptoms:

-faded or uneven color
-streaking, sparkling, or thin lines across the screen
-tape ‘sticks’ or doesn’t move evenly through the player
-fuzzy or snowy images

If any of the above symptoms are present when playing your tape, then the deterioration process has begun and it is important to act before the process worsens.

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