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.