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Thread: Renting Televisions

  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Renting Televisions

    I was wondering what people's memories of renting TVs, back in the day when sets were expensive & often went wrong.

    It seemed that until the early 1980s the companies were helped by new TV innovations, then when sets became cheaper & more reliable they started to rent video recorders or home computers.

    After VCRs became cheaper & reliable some companies switched to installing satellite dishes, which kept them going for another decade or so.

    In the last 20 years most innovations haven't had such a high price & with many retailers offering credit deals the need to rent has more or less gone.

    Over the years the likes of Redeffusion, Granada, Radio Rentals, British Relay, Visionshire, DER etc. seemed to all merge into Box Clever, which only exists online.

    Most of the electrical suppliers also rented sets, as did many retailers like the Co-op & Rumbelows when it was cost effective.

    My family rented a basic colour largish TV until 1984 from Granada. I only once remember an engineer coming round to have a look inside, who looked like a younger Jim Royle.

    It went back when my parents bought a Philips TV with remote from Comet, which seemed a lot more advanced then the one we rented, with it's grey plastic case & electronic tuning.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  2. #2
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    co armagh n/ireland
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    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    I can remember us renting tvs for sure.
    As well as vcr.s.

    Pretty sure we rented black and white tellies during the eighties.

    not quite sure when renting tv.s stopped
    as in shops no longer doing it.
    FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    Stockport had a Radio Rentals & Granada shops until about 2001. The Granada turned into a Box Clever but wasn't that for long before closing.

    I remember looking at the Granada ex-rental sets when I was looking for a new TV in 2001.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Brisbane
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    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    Throughout the 70s and 80s my parents rented our TVs from "Phil's" a TV shop down the hill.

    It wasn't until the early 90s when my dad bought their first TV, it was a 33" Toshiba, was massive for the time and had surround speakers, loved watching our Laserdiscs on that!

    People always commented on the size of it when they came round, nowadays everyone has big TVs.

  5. #5
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    Christchurch uk
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    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    There were some TV sets that were coin operated

    Often found in your room at Bed & Breakfast guest houses

    Do you really believe the other side without provocation would launch so many ICBM's, subs and ships knowing that we would have no option to launch as well? It would break our MAD Treaty (Mutually Assured Destruction) not to mention the end of the world as we know it.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    My parents never rented TVs or videos, but my grandmother did. She rented an 18" or 20" B+W set from Webb's in Hednesford in the 70s. Around 1980, she rented an 18" or 20" colour set from them. It wasn't new--looked like it was from the early 70s--so got it cheaper. In the late 80s, she rented a new model 14" colour portable with R/C from them, and kept that one until she had to go into a home.

    An old lady a couple of doors from us rented a TV from Radio Rentals in Cannock. As she rarely actually went into Cannock, she would give me the money each month and I would take it in and pay it for her. For some reason she would always put the exact money into an envelope and seal it. At first I would open the envelope and hand the money to the girl behind the counter, then I didn't bother and just let her open it. Occasionally, the old lady would buy me a packet of Mars bars for paying the money.


    I remember those coin-operated TVs. Seem to very vaguely recall going to someone's house and they had one.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    I've heard that the coin operated TVs were supplied by a company called Telebank.

    Many rental companies would have lower rates for older TVs, & have special offers of trials for colour sets as no extra cost to try & get customers to switch over.

    When larger B&W sets stopped being made in the 1980s engineers could turn off the colour circuits for customers who didn't want to pay for a colour licence. This was often older people with sight problems, as it used to be thought that watching in colour would make cataracts worse.

    My Uncle bought my Grandad at least 2 ex-rental TVs because they were cheap, & my grandad wasn't that fussed about having the latest features.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    Radio Rentals then DER for our family. And me solo, for some time!
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    My dad got us BSB through Granada. Vastly superior to sky, but went bust first. Then got the upgrade kit for d2 Mac. Great times.
    Jeep Swenson January 5th 1957 - August 18 1997.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Renting Televisions

    Quote Originally Posted by OptimusPrime1980 View Post
    My dad got us BSB through Granada. Vastly superior to sky, but went bust first. Then got the upgrade kit for d2 Mac. Great times.
    I was reading a bit about BSB recently, the system was very over-engineered compared to Sky's, which meant better picture quality but the equipment was much more expensive. Supposedly it was designed to be forward compatible for digital when it arrived.

    If you watched The Power Station you might have seen Chris Evans before his mainstream breakthrough on The Big Breakfast.
    The Trickster On The Roof

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