But of course if you did rent one you need never miss another episode of Coronation Street again, as Chapman & Son of High Street, Haverhill, England, informed us.
The 1980s saw the arrival of various innovations - such as front-loading machines and ever fancier and more confusing timers.
VCRs moved into the ascendancy. In 1983, nearly 20% of UK households had a machine, and in early 1985 it was 25%. The sky was now the limit and it would not be long before a VCR in the home was regarded as essential by the majority of us. Most people I knew rented their first VCR.
However, another hurdle to surmount in the early-to-mid 1980s was the different formats available. Should you rent or buy Betamax, VHS or Video 2000?
From the Brian Mills Spring/Summer 1983 mail order catalogue:
VHS, Beta or 2000
THREE DIFFERENT VIDEO SYSTEMS
The features and performance are similar, but the three systems are not compatible, and video tapes are not interchangeable between them. Please check carefully that the tapes you have ordered are the correct type for your machine.
A 1982 newspaper ad for the Phillips Video 2000 "Fame" release. The 1980 film was now available to view in your own home.
An aunt of mine bought a Beta model in about 1983, and lived to regret it when VHS won the sales battle. However, Auntie kept her Betamax machine for years, determined to get "value for money". Blank Betamax cassettes were, of course, still on sale for a while, and she used the machine to tape films and her favourite soap, Brookside!
Another 1980s technological marvel from the Brian Mills Spring/Summer 1983 mail order catalogue - a Pye 2023 "2000" system de-luxe video cassette recorder, priced £499.99. Probably pretty collectable these days!
I was really becoming aware of the video revolution by the mid-1980s. One of my favourite memories of those days is the 1985 Scotch video cassettes skeleton ad, featuring the voice of Deryck Guyler. "Re-record, not fade away..." Remember? See it here.