What does the decline of the DVD mean for the future of evidence storage?

If you still store your important interview files on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray— increasingly antiquated technologies—please read on. 

Technology Is Moving Fast
As our world becomes ever more digitized, it is uncertain just how long you’ll be able to export to this medium or find equipment to access it—think of disc storage as going the way of the VCR or cassette player. Judging by personal experience alone, I think the decline of the DVD may be even sooner than we all think. 

My husband recently went to Best Buy to purchase a box of blank CDs (which we intended to hang from our roof to thwart destructive woodpeckers—not to use as storage), and he was faced with a young—and confused—sales clerk who asked, “What is a CD?” An older employee informed him that they stopped selling them in 2018.

Do You Still Own Cassettes?

Without a time machine, it’s impossible to know just when CDs and DVDs will officially bite the dust, but I can say with confidence that for departments with 99 year retention requirements for their recorded interviews:it’s time to consider other storage solutions.

In 2020, CD sales decreased by a whopping 80 percent as compared to previous years. Thanks to the ease and versatility of streaming services for television, movies, and music, hard copies are becoming increasingly obsolete.

As of 2022, streaming services are responsible for 85 percent of how all music is consumed.

Because Old Habits Die Hard, CaseCracker Remains Storage Agnostic
Here at CaseCracker, we recognize that technology changes rapidly. But unlike other companies, we pride ourselves on remaining agnostic when it comes to our clients’ choice of storage medium.  You own your data and should get to choose how it is stored, maintained, and accessed.

Never Miss a Beat — Never Miss a Confession
We will continue to support disc recording for as long as possible, and even offer disc-spanning as a feature to ensure you capture 100 percent of your recording when you have an interview that exceeds the storage capacity of one disc. You can rest assured that you’ll never miss a beat. 

As of this posting, a whopping 95 percent of our customers still choose to keep all recordings in on-premise storage—as discs or on flash drives or SD cards—in physical evidence lockers. Others choose to secure files on firewall protected servers.

While there isn’t necessarily a “correct” storage medium in this rapidly changing world, it is worth acknowledging the risks of hard copy redundancy and storage. Regardless of future availability, discs remain a more fragile choice as they’re vulnerable to scratching, fingerprints, and various other types of damage.

To reduce this risk, we recommend you purchase name-brand archival discs such as Verbatim, Maxwell, or JVC, which will offer you the greatest longevity as they’re less photosensitive. For more information, check out this great post on Blu-ray options from Nerd Techy.

The Cloud is Better—But, It Could Come With A Cost
Another major risk to physical evidence, of course, is loss due to catastrophic events such as fire, flood, or tornado. 

Server or cloud storage offers a less risky alternative, but the latter can come with its own issues. Agencies may hit roadblocks in getting the security approval to utilize cloud providers, or may be hampered by hidden fees imposed by companies looking to nickel and dime for access to YOUR storage.

Beware of Hidden Fees and Who Really OwnsYour Data
When researching a potential storage provider, be sure to read the fine print so you know exactly what you’ll be charged for:

  • Do they charge for each individual upload and/or download?
  • Do the charges change based on the amount of storage used?
  • Are you paying to own the data or is it a license?
  • Are you able to export and/or change providers easily? Are fees associated with downloads, imports and exports?
  • Will the recorded files be compatible with other providers? Either for collaboration or down the road when you may need to move to a different provider.

Whether you plan to make the leap to cloud storage, continue with discs, or choose anything in between—CaseCracker will always be ready to support you.

If you have questions about what storage solution might work best for your agency, please

contact us.