The 'Future' of Entertainment Looks a Lot Like 1995

This weekend, we hit a milestone in my household: the Beloved finally got sick enough of the limited selection on flat-rate Netflix to venture into the pay-per-movie world of the iTunes Store, which we can access on the bedroom television via the spiffy little Apple TV box.

iTunesAnd … color us disappointed. We made our selection, pressed the play button and got the following screen:

‘Ready to Play in 2 hours, 7 minutes.’

Um … really? What followed was almost more entertaining than the movie turned out to be:

As the Beloved kept trying to reload the screen to increasingly random predictions (ready to play in 49 minutes … ready to play in 2 minutes … ready to play in 9 hours, 31 minutes … ), he pondered what else he could have accomplished in the time we had waited thus far. About four minutes into the wait, we both realized we could have torrented the movie by now. By the time it actually played, we could have actually driven to the corner store and rented it in person from the Redbox kiosk.

This is the future of entertainment? This is Big Media making it so easy to get content legitimately that nobody needs to pirate anymore?

To be fair to the iTunes people, the fine print did explain that the movie in question was an HD selection, and we could go (later) into the iTunes settings and tweak them to always play low-res if we wanted faster service. But, really. Streaming so slow we could have driven to a store and been back again by the time the movie was ready to play?

Ho hum to the future of entertainment, says this digital media fan.

4 Comments on The 'Future' of Entertainment Looks a Lot Like 1995

  1. Well, part of the problem is that broadband service in most parts of this country flat-out sucks.

  2. Apple TV “streaming” isn’t like Netflix streaming. In fact, it isn’t actually streaming as most people think of it.

    It certainly isn’t good for spontaneity since you need to plan ahead of time, depending on how fast your internet connection is.

    And let’s not even discuss the different formats – SD vs HD (720P or 1080P)

  3. I’m not an Apple customer, but we have watched pay per view movies on Amazon’s streaming service and it has always been pretty instantaneous. Even in HD. I don’t think what you experienced is the future of entertainment – sounds like something where the bugs aren’t worked out yet – whether with Apple’s service or the cable company or the hardware.

  4. I occasionally have that problem with my Apple TV. Are you using Rogers? If so, try resetting your router. I have to do it once every two or three days, and it has almost magical results: suddenly everything connects better.

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