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Podcast Wikipedia Definition

How to use a Podcast?

Additional Podcasting Information


A Podcast is a digital media file or series of digital media files, usually audio or video, which can be downloaded from the internet, made available through web syndication software.  A podcast can be one audio or video file, but podcasts are usually a series of audio or video files with each single media file known as a single episode.  A podcast is different than any audio or video media file that can simply be downloaded and used because podcasts need a special client software application, known as “podcatchers”, in order for it to be viewed or listened to. 

The most popular format of a podcast is the MP3.  The MP3 is basically an audio data file that has been compressed in order to save space on a computer storage device.  Although the MP3 is a compressed version of an actually audio device it still maintains much of its quality and is the most popular format for audio and music files on computers and digital media devices.  Many podcasts are also broadcasted in other formats such as MP4 and Mpeg, which are used for watching video podcast media files.       

The word “Podcast” is derived from Apple’s iPod (Pod standing for “portable on demand”) and the word broadcast.  Although the iPod is credited for term “pod” in “podcast,” it was not apple that developed the term podcast.  It just happened that at the time the term podcast was created, the iPod was and still is the most popular portable digital media device in the world today.  The term broadcast is used to signify that podcasts are broadcasted on and made available o the web.  Many people use their computers to subscribe to podcasts and sync their media files to their iPods.  Although the term podcast is derived from the iPod, it is not necessary to use an iPod to view or listen to podcast episodes.  One can use any computer or portable digital media player that is capable of utilizing MP3’s for audio or whatever format the media file is in order to listen to or watch the podcast episode.  It is also possible to listen to or watch a podcast directly from a computer with the supporting software such as Windows Media Player, VLC player, WinAmp, QuickTime media player or any other available computer media players. 


The most popular software applications that are used for podcasts are Apple’s iTunes and Winamp.  The podcatching software is designed to be able to automatically identify and download new media files within a series at the time new media files become available.  Users can subscribe to any media podcast available to them on the internet such as their favorite radio talk shows or internet based video shows.  New audio and media files of a particular series are automatically downloaded to a computer if a user is already subscribed to the podcast series.  Once a new podcast episode is downloaded, when a user connects their portable digital audio device to their computer, the new podcasted episode is automatically synced to their digital media device and then it can be viewed or listened to at the desired time and place a user chooses.       

            The technology that supports podcasting and the automatic web syndication is through the use of a XML technology named RSS (Really Simple Syndication).  When Podcasters develop their new content they publish their content in a XML RSS file (RSS feed).  The RSS file contains all the necessary information along with the podcast content in order for their podcast to be automatically broadcasted by software applications such as iTunes and Nullsoft.    

            Podcasting is becoming more and more popular because anyone can produce or view a podcast easily and it is very cheap to use.  Individuals can create their own podcast radio shows, video shows and be able to display whatever content they want to whoever they want.  Podcasting also creates the convenience of automatically downloading new content (episodes) by publishers to users that subscribe to them