A significant challenge of digital data systems is the large file sizes for multimedia. Because of this, files require sufficient memory to store them.
Compression can help reduce the size of individual files, but introduces loss of quality and requires additional processing capability to open them. For the same reason, media requires high bandwidth to distribute via networks, particularly the Internet. This limits the usability of digital data systems in areas without sufficiently high-quality Internet access.
Media files from different sources may not be compatible with all hardware and software used to open them due to a lack of media standards. This may require additional effort and investments from users trying to access them, as well as creates additional considerations for creators of such files. These considerations include creating copies of the media in different formats or using less efficient, but more widely adopted types of encoding and compression.
Additionally, concerns exist about the longevity of digital data. Data storage media are susceptible to degradation and damage with time, complicating long-term storage and archival. Moreover, compatibility of future devices with earlier storage formats is not guaranteed.
Migration, the process of remaking media in newer formats, is one approach to solving this issue. Another approach is emulation, which aims to reproduce the capabilities of older hardware and software on newer devices.