"iPod" + "Casting" = Podcasting - "iPod" + "Casting" = Podcasting

2006-08-25 11:29

Here's a quick guide to how it works. Look out for updates and more detailed information.

What is Podcasting?

Podcasting is way of publishing audio or video broadcasts via the Internet. Users subscribe to a feed of new files by adding an address to a list in a programme like iPodder - iPodder, or iTunes which uses the information in the feed to download an MP3 or video file from the Internet.

The address might look something like this: http://feeds.mysite.com/nameofpodcast.rss.

How to subscribe to podcasts

To subscribe to podcasts, you add the feed to any podcast reciever. You can use iPodder, Feedburner or various others. Or you can use iTunes, which you may already have on your machine. To use iTunes...
1. click the Advanced menu and
2.choose Subscribe to podcast....
3. Enter the address you copied on our page. Click OK and you're done.
It's not that advanced at all, really.

How do people download Podcasts?

Once the Podcast user has added the feed to their podcast receiving programme, they are subscribed to the podcast. This means that while they are doing other things, their computer can download the podcast over the Internet at its own pace. I'm sure you can see the advantage of this over live streaming, which requires a constant, fast connection.

The other great thing about podcast subscriptions is that your computer automatically begins downloading podcasts to which you are subscribed, as soon as they're available. It's a bit like programming your video machine to record your favourite shows while you're away on holiday!

How do I play podcasts?

Because the file you receive from a podcast is actually just an MP3 or an MPEG, you can play it on any media player that plays MP3s or Videos. You almost certainly have Windows Media Player on your PC. Or you can transfer it onto your regular iPod or Video iPod and play it wherever you like - in your car, at home, at gym, or while walking down the street.

What kind of thing can I hear and see?

Overseas, everyone from politicians to priests, from musicians to weirdoes, to bloggers who want to be DJs but can't get airtime, are making their own podcasts and offering them for downloads. Users might be listening to anything from George Bush's speeches, to their preacher's sermons, to the latest songs from a hot underground band, to raves about the end of the world. In short? Anything.

In South Africa, we do interviews showcasing local and international stars, and playing music from their albums or from the films they worked on. There are weekly podcasts for music, and Movies does podcasts when interview opportunities crop up.

- Jean Barker

The word "Podcasting" is a combination of "iPod" - Apple's name for its hugely popular MP3 player - and "casting" as in "broadcasting". But it's a bit of a misnomer, because you don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts, and it's not really casting - it's a subscription to a download.

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