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Q: Subjecting DVD-disks to freezing temperature ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Subjecting DVD-disks to freezing temperature
Category: Science > Technology
Asked by: nilsel-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 26 May 2003 02:22 PDT
Expires: 25 Jun 2003 02:22 PDT
Question ID: 208801
Can DVD disks be shipped and stored at temperatures below -20c (-4
degrees Fahrenheit) ?

A quick test showed that a ordinary DVD-video disk survived a night in
my freezer, obviously letting the disk warm up in room-temperature
before inserting it into the player.

The reason I'm asking is because a colleague is playing with the idea
to include dvd-disks in the packaging of frozen 'stuff', to be used in
some sort of product markering.

A warning on the disk would have to tell the user to let the disk to
unfreeze in room temperature before inserting the disk.
But what if someone inserts a very, very cold disk into their
expensive dvd-player?
I suspect it would be harmless, but I believe a frozen disk is more
prone to 'exploding' at high rotating speeds.

Can fog on the disk suface be a major problem (cold disks inserted
into hot dvd-players)?

The disk will not be subjected to any higher temperatures than normal,
so heat-tolerance is not a issue here.

Any reference to technical specs of DVD operating and/or storage
temperature also is appriciated.
Subject: Re: Subjecting DVD-disks to freezing temperature
Answered By: errol-ga on 26 May 2003 05:50 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi there, Nilsel!

What an interesting question!

The CD/DVD media are far more tolerant to the extremes of temperature
and humidity than the actual players which have many sensitive
The specifications for the optical media are far in excess of what you
would be able to reach in normal circumstances, they are nothing short
of bulletproof, with an average disc able to be stored at an
astounding -40.C all the way up to 70.C.

There are several websites which verify this, which I have listed

Fuji DVD-RAM for Video specifications


CDR Spec (PDF)

So this seems to be fairly standard specification for storage and you
will encounter no problems by keeping a DVD or CD frozen, note that I
didn't find any difference between DVD discs and standard CDs.

The actual operating temperature appears to vary though, according to
different sites and even within the companies themselves.
A safe operating range for the media is 5.C - 55.C, the higher
temperature is in excess of the standard limit for operating a CD or
DVD player.

Sites which list -5.C as the cold limit:

Fuji CDRs


And +5.C:


Fuji DVD Data discs

So you can see that either TDK or Fuji can't seem to decide which is
the safe operating limit and it is unfortunate that these specs are
between the ~0.C level that you want to deliver the DVDs in, so the
only solution seems to be to let the discs warm up to roughly 5.C
before attempting to play them.
In practice, this will probably occur soon after taking the disc out
of it's packaging due to room temperature and the warmth of a person

The primary concern is the DVD player which has very strict
specifications and for a good reason.
The generally accepted operating limits for the players are 5.C to
~35.C, anything much higher or lower will risk damage to the

Examples of DVD player specs:

Sony Playstation 2

Sony Progressive Scan DVD Player

Pioneer DVD Player

So what will happen if you insert a cold disc at about 0.C into a hot
DVD player?
Well, you are right to suspect that condensation may appear.
I found a couple of manuals explaining how condensation may make
itself known and disturb the electronics.

"Form of condensation inside the player.
As sudden change of temperature and humidity, if cold parts of the
player are exposed to warm air, condensation (in other words, sweat
phenomenon, for example on the windows of room equipped with heating
system) may be formed.
When condensation is formed inside the player, normal operation may
not be performed. However, when the condensation is eliminated, the
player will recover to normal operation.
When condensation is formed and the player can not operate normally,
please place the player under room temperature until it recovers to
normal operation. Depending on different circumstances, the process
may last 1 or 2 hours."
From: (DOC)

"Avoid, where possible, subjecting the equipment to sharp temperature
changes, as condensation sometimes forms on the laser lens, causing
sporadic problems."

The following quote explains it perfectly:

"Never Leave your CD's in cold places as when you come to insert the
CD into the player it may have traces of condensation or damp on which
will make it difficult for the CD player's electronics to read the
media or even cause damage to the player."

I hope this explains it well for you, just remember not to warm them
up in the microwave! ;)
Kind regards,

Related Google searches:

cd operating temperature specifications

dvd player operating temperature specifications

diode laser condensation

cd player condensation
nilsel-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks! This was a wealth of information, and exactly the kind I was looking for. =)

Subject: Re: Subjecting DVD-disks to freezing temperature
From: ferg_y2k-ga on 26 May 2003 03:49 PDT
The DVD disk its self will be ok in freezing temps. no matter how long
you leave it. when defrosting ofcourse you will need to let it defrost
when objects are frozen or heated they contract and expand, any quick
freezing or heating on the disk will cause uneven movement in the disk
causing it to shatter or crack, this could happen if placed in a dvd
player. the fog of a dvd will prevent it from playing properly cause
it would cause the laser to refract thus not sending hack the correct

I like the idea, i think it would all be fine providing the disks were
brought in and out of freezing correctly.

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