Forget your speedy broadband downloads, if you wanted to watch the latest films, you rented them from your high-street video store and slotted the cassette into your trusty video recorder. ‘Trusty’ providing the tape didn’t get mangled in the machine, of course.
The element of ‘recording’ was also an unpredictable feature. The technology only allowed you to record periods of time rather than actual TV shows, meaning you were at the mercy of the TV schedulers. If you were out and had timed the machine to record the latest episode of ‘Dynasty’ in your absence, the station’s running order might well have over-ran (live snooker a common culprit) and you were likely to miss the cliff-hanging ending.
But the concept of owning a film or a TV show that you could watch any time you wanted was a novel one that the nation fell in love with.
And for those homeowners concerned that visitors might view them as uncultured if a stack of videos lined their lounge bookshelves, there was always the option of hiding your videos in those hard-back cases designed to look like classic books. Class.