A reader wrote this in response to a question about transferring 8 mm film. “Perhaps John could have solved his problem by getting his wedding film copied onto an archival quality DVD disc. Expensive, but supposedly guaranteed for 100 years! I have stored a lot on mine, but can’t verify the 100 years.”
I can definitely tell you that 100 years is really stretching it. Perhaps a DVD kept in optimum conditions and never played might make it that long, but a 10 to 20 year range is more reasonable (less if it is frequently played or kept in heat, damp, or cold). I’d also caution against transferring only to a DVD format that plays in conventional home DVD players. I would choose a current video file standard and ask for the digital file on a flash drive. That way you have the option to keep the file on a hard drive or later have it converted to another type of file if video standards change. There’s no guarantee that DVD players as they exist now will be commonly available in 15 years. (Look what happened to VHS.) If you have a lot of precious memories stored on DVDs, I’d also look at transferring those files to other storage mediums as well.