Re: the good old days
Ah, VideoPlus+ codes!
I do remember them in newspapers. But only for a short while in the 80's.
I always suspected that what really killed them was that TV is, in no way, dependable. At the time that they were published in the UK we only had four channels. Any major event would require a news bulletin, ruining the schedule. Any overrunning sports event would ruin the schedule. A squirrel farting would ruin the damned schedule.
It may have been easy to program the video via VideoPlus+ codes, but that didn't mean you were going to get your programme. IIRC I think they allowed a few minutes each way, but that's all. Smart people usually allowed 5-10 minutes at least both before and after the program.
So it may have been more convenient, but it was no more likely to succeed than manual programming. And therefore not quite worth the money.