A vending unit includes a plurality of cubicles each holding a TV film, dispensed in response to the manipulation by an identified patron. The patron has an identification code number, which upon being entered as information into the vending unit, energizes a computer unit and conditions the apparatus for vending. This information may be entered by pushbuttons or using an ID card. A monetary coin or money bill, or token, is inserted and then a film is dispensed in response to depression of a selection button by the patron. The apparatus includes a record of transactions by each patron, according to his ID code number, which shows films taken out, and their return, and a security deposit credit, and sets off the dispensed films against that deposit credit, and re-establishes the deposit credit upon return of the film. Upon entering the ID information, instructions are given to the patron by the computer, visually or audibly, for successive steps to be taken following each previous step. An alternative arrangement utilizes a billing operation instead of a coin or token. The invention also encompasses an arrangement including a central station and a plurality of substations. Another alternative includes an ID card, known as a "smart card," that includes a complete built-in computer that performs all the functions of the computer unit in the first forms.