How to take care of your DVD collection
DVDs and Blu-Rays are expensive. Sure, one or two movies won't tax your pocketbook overly much, but a dozen? Over a hundred? That's a lot of money. It behoves all lovers of digital media to treat their discs with respect - and this article will show you how with some simple, effective tips for taking care of your DVD collection.
DVDs and Blu-Rays are tougher than they look, and can take a certain amount of abuse before things start to go wrong. That said, you want to adopt the following practices when handling your discs:
- Bend the container, not the disc, to get them off of their spindles
- Hold them along the edges of the disc, not the flat surface, with one finger through the centre hole
- Place them gently into your DVD or Blu-Ray player - no dropping
- Put them back in the box when you're done - more on that later
- Keep them out of reach of sharp objects
- Keep them out of reach of children and animals
Accidents happen, no matter how cautious you are with your collection. Try to limit them with judicious handling of your movies.
Let's say you have a DVD collection that's over 200 movies strong. You want to watch one movie in particular - but all of your cases are jumbled together. You have no idea where it might be. You tear through your entire house, checking every DVD case, and find it after fifteen or twenty minutes of searching. In that time you probably tossed discs around with wild abandon, annoyed at your lack of progress, and you may have damaged one or more of them. Worse, you've left your collection in a greater state of disarray.
A simple organizational system can get around this problem. If you're feeling particularly spry, you can organize movies by genre or first letter; if not, just keep them all in a central location, and always return them to that location when you're done. This brings us to the next point:
Secure storage is important to preservation of a DVD collection. Once your collection gets large enough you won't want hundreds of cases floating around your house, and a container will help you organize your DVDs using whatever system you like.
What you use for storage depends on how much space you have and your own personal tastes. The basic, obvious option is to use a dedicated shelf, which is fine so long as it can support the weight of dozens of DVDs (which shouldn't be a problem unless it's a junky shelf). If your collection's a bit smaller you can have it built right into an entertainment centre, near your TV and DVD / Blu-Ray player.
Other options include:
- Slide out drawers
- Vertical DVD racks
- Labelled and organized boxes (though this can be inconvenient if you lack organizational skills)
Whichever method you choose, avoid the temptation to leave your DVDs in big stacks, and keep them in cool locations to prevent heat warping. The possibility of damage to the cases and the discs rises dramatically when they're not properly stored. Dust your cases occasionally if they're stored in an open area to prevent data contamination and general buildup of crud.
Back in the box
When you're not watching a DVD or Blu-Ray, put it back in its case. Don't leave it in the machine, don't put it back in the wrong case, and don't leave it sitting out in the open. Failing to do this will probably cause confusion in the future when you want to watch the movie or TV show again and can't find the disc.
If you absolutely must leave a disc sitting out in the open, lay it face-up on a flat surface. The bottom of the DVD or Blu-Ray is coated with a protective surface. The top is not. Avoid touching or scratching the top of the disc to prevent corruption of the data on the disc.
This last one is largely a personal preference, but most people know at least one person who's terrible at returning anything they've borrowed. Worse, they may damage the product. Avoid this by learning the habits of the asker before lending them any movies. If their reputation is poor, think twice.