A subscription television system and method in which billing information regarding programs actually viewed by a subscriber of the system is accumulated over non-dedicated telephone lines. A scrambled television program signal containing a block of television program material and a program identification code unique to the block of program material is transmitted at a predetermined carrier frequency. The codes are preferably included in the vertical retrace interval of the video portion of the program signal and the transmitted program signal is selectively received at a subscriber station and selectively unscrambled to permit viewing of the block of program material being transmitted in response to subscriber action indicating acceptance for viewing of the block of program material. The program identification code in the program signal received at the subscriber station is detected and stored for subsequent transmission as an electrical signal in response to the subscriber action indicating acceptance for viewing of the block of program material.
The program identification code stored at the subscriber station is selectively accessed from a remote location over telephone lines on other than a real time basis (e.g., a periodic basis) to thereby provide billing information at the remote location as to programs actually viewed by the subscriber. The subscriber can thus be billed monthly or on some desired periodic basis for programs actually viewed during the preceding period.