Should I convert my tapes as soon as possible?

The short answer is yes! However, tapes can last a long time under certain conditions. If you keep them clean, cool and dry, away from magnets and children, or curious adults, and don’t play them often, then they will be OK.

The list below shows what you should keep tapes away from, or things you should not do with them:

Having a tape get overtaken by fungus: this will eat up the tape eventually.

Having a tape too close to magnets, hematite, speakers, or large metal objects: magnetism erases data.

Having a tape get too hot, either inside a car or other enclosed areas: car temperatures in Tucson can get hot enough to melt plastic.

Having a tape broken by a toddler or a curious kid: it can happen.

Having the tape get crushed by a heavy object: this can be fixed as long as the tape inside is kept from getting wrinkled.

Having a tape be played too many times: tapes wear down over time, and the data is held by magnetic powder in a strip of plastic. You only need to play a tape at around 40 times to see a difference.

Recording a tape in an extended time format: This one you probably can’t control once the footage is recorded, but the slower a tape is played, the higher the chance that a player can’t keep up and give you snow instead.

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