Is storing on Blu-Ray discs generally the best way to archive a collection?

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Bantay
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:47 am

Is storing on Blu-Ray discs generally the best way to archive a collection?

Post by Bantay » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:48 am

Hello everyone,,
I was told this would be the best place to ask this question, if not I apologize and please let me know!

I've been putting together a rather extensive collection of anime and movies that I'd like to be able to keep for a lifetime, maybe introduce my future children to things that I like as they get older in the best possible format.

For example OT of Star Wars, the Despecialized Edition is the best way to watch it in my opinion. Obviously that exists as mkv files. For Dragon Ball as another example, the best viewing experience is definitely the Dragon Box footage. Pendekar is putting together the ultimate Dragon Ball collection using Dragon Box footage and every available Japanese and English audio options with subtitles. Once again these are mkv files, and is the only way to really get non-fucked-with DBZ (I refuse to buy the cropped and saturated Season Sets) since Dragon Boxes secondary market are like $600 each now and FUNimation just refuses to release DBZ in 4:3 anymore.

So as I put together this collection, I want to make sure I keep it. Some of this stuff only had like two seeders and took a week or more to download. I have a WD external HDD I got in like 2013 that's good for temporary storage, but the fact of the matter is HDDs fail. Even SSDs fail. I want to archive this stuff for a lifetime.

So I guess two questions - is burning to a Blu-Ray or DVD the best and most reliable option for this? I've heard of 'M-Discs' that are BD-Rs and DVD-Rs that supposedly last for a thousand years.

Also if I do go with discs, I was thinking of doing something cool and making custom jewel cases with cover art and printed disc labels for my collection. I'd want playable BDs for this. As far as I understand, mkvs aren't an option to be able to pop a disc in and play it, they have to be converted right? I wouldn't think there's a way to do custom menus like an official release would have, is there? Or do the files just play in order? So basically if I want a playable version and just storage of the actual mkvs, that would be two different discs right?

Sorry for the long post, this is just a side project I've wanted to do and I want to make sure I do it right.

Woodstock
Posts: 7129
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:21 pm

Re: Is storing on Blu-Ray discs generally the best way to archive a collection?

Post by Woodstock » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:24 pm

Optical media is a funny thing. Commercial, stamped disks are usually pretty stable, allegedly good for decades if stored properly.

"Stored properly", though, is the issue. From my experience, storing them in their display boxes isn't the best idea, because they contain chemicals that cloud the disk.

My solution is to rip them immediately, then box them up. I know I'll probably have to clean them when they come out, but there shouldn't be any scratches to worry about.

The rips can be backed up, played as many times as I want, and not damage the optical media doing it.
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VarHD
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:40 pm

Re: Is storing on Blu-Ray discs generally the best way to archive a collection?

Post by VarHD » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:38 pm

I was told this would be the best place to ask this question
I'm afraid most people here are all about the opposite - we don't archive data on Blu-ray discs, we rip the discs to archive the data on HDDs ;)

As you've said, the M-Disc format (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-DISC) promises archival-grade 1000-year lasting storage and you can push up to 100 GB on one BD-XL M-Disc.

The problem is that this stuff is waaaay more expensive compared to a hard drive. For a 5-pack of 100 GB M-Discs you'll pay about $60-$70. Going with the lowest $60 option, that's $60 for 500GB... so it's $120 for 1TB... and $1,200 for 10TB! Meanwhile, you can get a 14TB Seagate Ironwolf Pro drive for $50-$600 so you'll pay twice the price for Blu-ray archival. Yes, HDDs can fail, but if they're only half of the cost, you could copy the same data on 2 drives and it'll cost you the same.

Grauhaar
Posts: 523
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:46 pm

Re: Is storing on Blu-Ray discs generally the best way to archive a collection?

Post by Grauhaar » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:05 pm

Bantay wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:48 am
is burning to a Blu-Ray or DVD the best and most reliable option for this? I've heard of 'M-Discs' that are BD-Rs and DVD-Rs that supposedly last for a thousand years.
Any self burned disc has some chemical in/on it. So the lifetime is limited. I have CDs or DVDs which can longer be read (approx. 10-15 years old). Blu-ray has a much more higher data density and so, the risk that this media fails is much more higher.

I think there is no utimate way to save store data for a long time without touch them from time to time. For paper etc. Microfish is used, but for digital media I think the only way is to use some HDDs or SDDs (better, no mechanic in it) in an RAID5 (better RAID6) NAS storage array system to have the chance that if one (or two if RAID6) drives fail, that the data from the failed drive can be reconstructed with the parity information from the other drives. Make from time to time data scrubbing (all data is read, bad sectors can be fixed) and/or copy the data to a new location on the RAID array and so on. But always keep in mind, that hardware and software can change (f.e no one uses IDE connected HDDs, all uses SATA connection), so maybe a new NAS must be created from time to time and all data is transfered to the new one. Nobody knows what technic is used in 25 years. But keep the saved data as simple as possible. Any conversion into an special format (like Blu-ray playable) can be a problem in the future.

But storing data on self burned blu-ray(s) (maybe on 5 identical disc) is not save, because all can fail. The other problem is, that this format may be no longer usable in 10, 20 or 50 years. And you need always a player which supports this format. Specialy if the Blu-ray should be direct playable, this means compatible software to interpret all the data structures and metadata, also the connection to TV or whatever can change.
Good Luck :)
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