Which physical format will be playable the longest?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by head_unit, Feb 26, 2022.

  1. head_unit

    head_unit Senior Member Thread Starter

    Los Angeles CA USA
    ...on hardware, I'm not talking about ripping to hard drive.
    - Vinyl is excluded from the poll as that's a different animal I'm not interested in for this thread. I think this format will last the longest since it is simpler to make playback equipment compared to the chips and lasers and transports and so forth needed to play back digital discs. Speculate away if you disagree...
    - I didn't put CD in the poll as that's not a format for high resolution/surround (OK, DTS CDs, to quote Ariana Grande thank you next) ditto vinyl. But opine away if you think these will actually be playable longer than the others.
    - I would tend to think that due to prevalence the winner would be Blu-ray or maybe regular DVD.
    - However SACD does have a strong specialized marketplace for audio; I can see small specialty makers preserving this. BUT will they be able to get parts to create players? Will the data still be usable into processors with bass management and room correction (which presumes players will transcode and output PCM)?
    - Partisans of Mini-Disc feel free to proselytize ha ha
    BruceS likes this.
  2. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    BD and DVD a tie...best case scenario...although BD can play DVD so I'd rather see the DVD player go before the Blu-Ray player.
    rockclassics and audiomixer like this.
  3. ca1ore

    ca1ore Forum Resident

    Stamford, CT, USA
    I think the likely answer is CD …. not on your list as you note. I would guess that the installed base of CD players is many times that of those other formats, not to mention the significant number of actual CDs. Hardware support for those massive collections would win the day in my view.
  4. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Northeastern USA
    Agree, it’s CD. Incalculable amount of dedicated players, supported by every DVD, Blu-Ray and UHD drive. Of your list DVD for the same reasons, just less install base. The wild card here is if one of these optical formats starts degrading at a higher rate, no amount of techs in the world could fix that.
    CDFanatic, anorak2, Tajo1960 and 3 others like this.
  5. Keith V

    Keith V Forum Resident

    Secaucus, NJ
    DVD because it came first?
  6. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    You can still play these things......


  7. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    By "remain playable", do you mean, availability for compatible players for the general public, or in terms of how soon they lose their mojo (I'm thinking of the CD-R's that don't tend to stand the test of time as a comparison).

    For instance, with CD's (which I know we're not talking about here), some that don't play can be ripped (and I'm not talking about "to hard drive", so much) as just ripping a copy which will still be able to play. Do you mean, that kind of "remain playable"?
    head_unit likes this.
  8. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident

    Hartwell, GA
    Blu Ray I’m pretty sure is scratch resistant and has excellent quality control. DVDs scratch if you look at them.
    greelywinger and head_unit like this.
  9. Musicians. Anything else all bets are off.
  10. head_unit

    head_unit Senior Member Thread Starter

    Los Angeles CA USA
    This, though you bring up a good point about the media itself remaining playable.
    CD is kinda dead, I actually can't envision CD-only players being available longer than DVD or Blu-ray transports. But that's just a feeling, open to anyone's logic otherwise. Yeah there's a big base of CD players but they are already all old.
    EDIT: hmm, maybe small specialist makers could keep making CD players? Is that really easier than DVD/Blu-ray? (Insofar as parts availability, obviously it's simpler to do just CD, but not if parts are only available for Blu-ray transports for instance)
  11. ca1ore

    ca1ore Forum Resident

    Stamford, CT, USA
    I imagine the same people that aren’t buying CDs also aren’t buying DVD, SACD or BluRay LOL. All physical formats are in decline. Just think about the numbers of different discs out in the world and I think your question largely answers itself.
  12. BruceS

    BruceS El Sirviente del Gato

    Reading, MA US
    Now you mention it, my remaining minidiscs—going back as far as 1998—have held up very well. Once every so often (not very) I still play one. I have about 60 left, and twice that many CDs, which also have held up well, and of course go back a bit further.
  13. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    You beat me to it--but please don't touch the playing surface!

    shug4476 and Swann36 like this.
  14. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Go Padres!!

    San Diego
    Optical disc formats are DOA. CD's might make a vinyl style comeback.
    BrentB, rockin_since_58 and bever70 like this.
  15. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Sherwood, OR, USA
    High res DVD with up to 24/96 audio. Because DVD has been cracked and easy for DVD player manufacturers in China to add, even if not fully properly licensed now.

    Second would be DVD Audio with audio up to 24/192. But not common enough to be implanted properly by the Chinese and Asian companies that continue to support DVD video with audio support up to 24/96.

    For SACD and Blu-ray audio I would suggest ripping them now to have high-res audio on those discs playable longer term. I predict that we'll still have new production physical players able to play DVD video discs with audio at 24/96 after the last physical players capable of playing SACD and Blu-ray Audio are no longer able to do that.
  16. bever70

    bever70 It's not all about The Soundstage

    I'm buying plenty of cd's. Not in the least bit interested in the formats offered in this poll though.
  17. Francois1968

    Francois1968 Forum Resident

    Any physical analogue format I guess...............
    nutsfortubes and Alan2 like this.
  18. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    Do you mean hardware as in the 'digital' storage domain?
    As far as I know in general, and across the board, the longest and most sustainable is the physical disc,
    and second to that, the analog reel to reel tape.
    'Artists' today I hear, still back up 'Masters' to analog R2R 'just in case'.....
    Digital hardware? No idea.
  19. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Why worry about compatibility with future equipment if these discs rot away in just a few decades?
  20. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    Sheet music, and playing by ear even longer.
    2441Driver and Francois1968 like this.
  21. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Sherwood, OR, USA
    CDs will continue to be playable by physical hardware players past the time you die. CD redbook format is an archive media format by the US Library of Congress and other official libraries in other countries. The redbook disc format is documented and well known. It is easy for manufacturers in China and Asia and other places to continue to manufacture CD players. There won't be any licensing issues since the patents and licensing has expired.

    DVD and DVD Audio is a little bit more complex. And has more complex licensing and patent issues. Eventually all those legal issues will expire and factories in China and other Asia countries and elsewhere will be able to make physical CD and DVD players.

    CD and DVD formats are a long term archive format recognized by the US Library of Congress and other national archive libraries. Those formats will live on because the archive libraries have planned to keep those formats readable and viable for 100+ years.

    We alaready have CDs made in the early 1980s still readable and functional in 2022. So 40 years going. Those discs will continue to last longer. CDs made now will continue to be playable and usable and ripable 40 and 50 years from now. Why worry? The archive librarians and archive collectors will have already ripped and transferred those recordings to other digital media or lossless digital file formats long before the actual physical media degrades to the point of being unreadable or having read errors.
    anorak2 and bever70 like this.
  22. bever70

    bever70 It's not all about The Soundstage

    Nonsense! Cd's are over 40 yrs old now and still play faultless. Maybe you meant a few centuries :laugh:! In which case I couldn't give a #### as I won't be around no more in 3022. Our planet will rot before cd's will. Wanna take a bet on that?!
  23. Ambidestreza

    Ambidestreza Active Member

    I agree that CDs will last the longest.
    Tajo1960 likes this.
  24. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Idk for sure, but I thought this was about other types of optical disks.

    But yes, I know CDs last quite some time - estimation is about 80 to 120 years under normal circumstances with regular (pressed; not burned) CDs of average quality.
    Under very good storage conditions, gold CDs can last multiple centuries.
    bever70 likes this.
  25. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    NY, USA

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