About a year ago I discovered that a sizeable quantity of my DVD collection, both burned and commercially stamped discs, had gone bad. I think this is going to be an emerging problem over the next decade. We are getting to the point where some DVD and other optical media (CD, LD, games, etc) are 20 years old. Possibly the atmosphere in Hawaii speeds up the degradation process.
Eventually I figured out that the particular kind of degradation I was experiencing was layer separation of dual-layer DVDs. When this occurs the disc quickly becomes unreadable. It will most likely not load at all, but if it does there will be tons of errors in the data or video playback. All of my dual-layer burned Maxell DVDs have gone bad, though this may vary by manufacturer or time period. As for the commercial discs, so far it's only been certain Bandai Entertainment titles that have gone bad for me. It's always been known that Bandai DVDs are poorly pressed, but the discs I had used to work perfectly and only degraded after 10 years.
I've also run into isolated issues with single-layer burned DVDs. Apparently light will quickly destroy burned optical media so don't leave them lying around in clear cases without a cover. At least this can be protected against as long as you know. I'm not sure if there is any way to stop the layer separation in a disc that is prone to it.
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