Sometime at the end of the 80's, when I was still an innocent adolescent, I made my first contact with video on demand in a hotel room. There was a box under the TV set, with which you could choose from a couple of movies. The first five minutes were free, then you were charged for watching the movie (luckily, I managed to hold myself back from watching more than the free five minutes of "Amanda at Night", or howsoever that masterpiece was called).

Is there a word for this particular kind of box? My Google search was unsuccesful.

  • A set-top box? Maybe those are newer than ones you're suggesting. That's all I could find.
    – Kman3
    Aug 4, 2017 at 21:29
  • A set-top box was the closest word that came to my mind. It was just because of the limitation to five or so movies that made me wonder if there is a particular word for that type of box. Aug 4, 2017 at 21:32
  • 1
    Also converters/receivers - apparently they existed in the 1970s.
    – Kman3
    Aug 4, 2017 at 21:34
  • Yes, that might be right. "Converter/receiver" appears a couple of times in a hotel context when I do a search on books/magazines from 1988. Aug 4, 2017 at 21:52
  • I can't recall what it would have been called back then, but today this service is called "video on demand".
    – Andrew
    Aug 5, 2017 at 0:11

1 Answer 1


If you're being technical, then converter/receiver, as noted in the comments.

For the vernacular, I recall hearing them called (in reference to that time), pay-per-view boxes.

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