Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Other podcatchers than iTunes (1)

Here is a field I have only just begun to explore: alternatives to iTunes for obtaining your podcasts. So, let me start to solicit any advice you readers can give. What catcher do you use, what catcher have you discarded? What should a catcher have in order to appeal to you?

Ever since I began listening to podcasts I have been using iTunes, but now I have begun to try out two other clients: Juice and gPodder. Juice was the first one I tried, since it was the first one I'd hear about when alternatives to iTunes were discussed. Yet, I prefer gPodder as it is more easy to use. I didn't have to search for elementary functions such as adding subscriptions and initiating download. I also very much appreciated what happened upon importing an OPML file with loads of subscriptions: gPodder allowed me to check which podcasts on the list I wished to add. Note that gPodder also knows to communicate (in principle) with iPod.

What neither client offers and is also sorely missing (for me) in iTunes is the possibility to categorize podcasts and stick them in folders. This is basic functionality that general rss readers offer and thus allow to be subscribed to a very large number of feeds and stay organized. I'll have to study more catchers, maybe with the help of this Podcatcher Matrix

Another option for podcatching is to go on-line. In stead of having a local client, one can setup a personal page with your podcasts. This allows you to access the same podcast collection from different computers, which would be ideal for users who use more than one computer to connect their player to. Such service is given at Odeo and Podnova. At Odeo I set up an account and found the site ot be slow and the procedure faulty and bothersome. The whole idea of having to manage yet another profile (in addition to Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, StumbleUpon, The Podcast Parlor etc etc etc) bothers ma and I was charmed by the fast, simple and anonymous solution at Podtopia: just enter the feed and there you go. But then: how much better is that than just directly downloading from the feed or the podcast's website?

More instructions:
Useful tools for podcast listeners,
Devising your own podcast feed - Huffduffer,
Suggestion for the advanced podcast listener,
What is RSS - Read Anne is a Man automatically.


lowry.bryan said...

I use the RSS feeds from the podcasts website and stick them into Google Reader.

Unknown said...

I do that as well, but Google Reader is not designed for podcatching and so I find it less comfortable as a download client. I use Google Reader as a reading client; just to catch the headlines and know what all the podcasts are bringing. Yet, in order to download and copy to my iPod, I still need iTunes or gPodder.


Ophir Radnitz said...

On Windows I use Media Jukebox and really enjoy it. It has a pretty good support for podcasts. It allows me to get a preview of the blog post that accompanies the podcast audio file, choose a different automatic downloading policy for each feed and allows for easy (though basic) manipulation of the downloaded file names per each individual feed. Nice and sleek UI too.

Unknown said...

I'll try Media Jukebox then. You make an important point: one must have the possibility to set a different download policy per podcast


Tom Tacken said...

Doppler never let me down uptill now. Maybe not so flashy, but simplicity has always been the best virtue. Add feed and retrieve: that's all.

Retroguy said...

I use Juice and have since I started listening to podcasts. It is possible to change the destination folder for the downloads with juice. I then simply use Windows search {i'm on windows 7} to locate new downloads via date. That way I always can see what has downloaded the previous day and transfer to my MP3 player.

Ophir Radnitz said...

Also worth checking out is Miro, an open source cross platform multimedia player and online streams organizer. It's pretty good for podcasts and it's particularly good for videocasts. It looks great, updates regularly and also allows for automatic download settings per feed. In ways it's similar to SongBird, which is great but not as convenient for podcasts.

Unknown said...

Until I got a Nokia smartphone which has its own podcasting client, I used Happy Fish. It was the best client I could find for flexibility and automatic synchronization with any mp3 player.