A Podcast (a play on the words "broadcast" and "iPod") is very much like a blog. You subscribe to a feed using a news aggregator which then periodically checks the feed and downloads new articles as they are posted. A Podcast works similarly: You subscribe to a feed using a Podcast aggregator which will download new audio files and add them to your iPod or other portable music player.
How does it work? The feed is nothing more than a regular RSS 2.0 feed. Each <item> with a Podcast contains an enclosure using the <enclosure/> tag. Aggregators are then free to download (or not) this file and add it to your playlist and music player. The concept of radio shows distributed in audio files is not new, but the word "podcasting" connotes the integration of the concept with RSS for easy, automatic syndication.
Adam Curry (http://live.curry.com/), the former MTV vj and radio personality, now hosts the Daily Source Code, his Podcast where he talks mostly about Podcasting and music. He, along with Dave Winer, has been the major promotor of this distribution channel.
New Podcasts are added to a directory (http://audio.weblogs.com/), and existing Podcasts can be found on the iPodder website (http://www.ipodder.org/). With the release of iTunes 4.9, Apple has not only integrated iTunes into their popular jukebox software, but has also created an entire section of their iTunes Music Store to help users find and subscribe to podcasts. As of writing (2005/06/29), all podcasts available are free, but Apple has plans to release exclusive paid content. If podcasting has the potential to become mainstream, this release will be the one to do it.
- Major platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
- iPodder is the original Podcasting software. (http://ipodder.sourceforge.net/)
- iTunes 4.9 added podcasting support.
- Jäger Aggregates both news and Podcast feeds. Very small interface. (http://jaeger.blogmatrix.com/)
- Windows only
- Nimiq includes an integrated OPML browser. (http://www.nimiq.nl/)
- Doppler allows per-feed customization (http://www.dopplerradio.net/)
- Mac OS X only
- iPodderX supports multiple enclosure types. (http://ipodderx.com/)
- PlayPod (http://www.iggsoftware.com/playpod/)
- Pod2Go (http://www.kainjow.com/pod2go/)
- PoddumFeeder (http://www.ifthensoft.com/poddumfeeder.html)