|Protecting Your Software Collection|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Audio Related Articles|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Tuesday, 01 March 2005|
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AV Education on RHT
Protecting Your Software Collection
Written by Jerry Del Colliano
With consumers flocking to all sorts of new server-based storage systems, ranging from Apple iPods to Media Center PCs to video servers like Kaliedescape’s $27,000 system, one truth remains: we still need to find a good storage solution for our physical CDs and DVDs. While some throw caution to the wind and simply trade in their discs as soon as they get a new server, those end users are playing a high stakes game of poker. Anyone who has seen a hard drive fail or a record company sue a consumer knows it is best to keep those discs as a backup in the event that someday you will need them.
From the early days of the compact disc, consumers were told that CDs and DVDs are virtually indestructible. I think the marketing line was “perfect sound forever.” The truth is that digital discs, like CDs, DVDs, video games and even good old laserdiscs, are fairly delicate. It’s surprisingly easy to scratch, smudge or break discs, which can affect their ability to be read by your CD or DVD player or cause them to not work at all.
Storing Discs Properly
The most important tip for protecting all of your media discs, whether you’re using CDs or DVDs, is to return them to their storage device immediately after you are finished using them, whether it is ripping them into a server, playing them on a DVD player or taking them on the road for a spin in your in-dash car player. The common practice of stacking discs on top of each other or placing them on countertops and similar surfaces can create scratches very easily. You may not realize it, but scratches on the label side of the CD are more likely to cause playback problems, because data is stored much closer to this side of the disc. Check out www.scratchdoctor.co.uk for some unique solutions to discs that have already suffered damage. It’s also important to avoid setting your discs on or near strong magnetic fields, which may erase or distort data stored on your discs. Common items around the house to keep your discs away from are computer monitors, television sets, players and microwave ovens.
Media Storage Systems
Storing CDs in jewel cases is common, as the discs typically come packaged in jewel cases, but believe it or not, discs can become scratched in jewel cases in many ways. This includes if they “come off” the center spindle and shuffle around in the case, whereby the surface continually rubs against the spindle, causing scratches. Also, jewel cases can crack and splinter quite easily if they are used frequently for transporting discs (i.e., if used in automobiles). The most pressing issue with jewel cases is physical space in most systems. With many collections of CDs running into the thousands, the space needed to store discs is vast and with per square foot prices in the $750 to $1,000 range, consumers in many of America’s biggest cities are looking for servers or alternative ways to have their music but save space at the same time.