A stored program pay-per-play system includes a high-capacity storage medium facilitating compilation of video, audio or other programs at a subscriber's site. While the recording of such programs may take place at any time preceding playback, billing occurs only when, and if, the subscriber chooses to select a program for replay or actually enjoys the program substantially in its entirety. Billing is alternatively based on a store-credit or account debiting scheme. The recording of program materials may be directed automatically by subscriber-operated storage management facilities which scan program schedules and select materials to be recorded, based on title, cast, program genre or any other of a variety of viewer/listener preferences. Alternatively, the program provider may automatically download programs, either based upon actual or surmised viewer preferences, or at the provider's discretion, for example, using newly-available selections. Display generation circuitry is preferably implemented, enabling the viewer to review selections to be downloaded, those selections available for immediate replay, remaining account balance, and other features, including “parental lockout” and so forth.