What is a podcast?
A podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of audio files, video files, PDF, or ePub files. Podcasts are made available for download through an RSS feed. You can subscribe to your favourite shows - which are downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to your computer or mobile device.
The podcast’s RSS feed is updated each time new media is published. A podcatcher (like iTunes) is used to subscribe to the RSS feed . This software automatically checks for updates and downloads new files in the series. These files are stored locally your computer or mobile device and can be watched or listened to offline. This way you can take your favourite podcasts with you on the go and enjoy them when- and wherever you like.
You can rewind a podcast, pause it or play it as many times as you want. You don’t have to miss a thing and more importantly – you decide what you want to watch or listen to.
The word “podcast” is actually a combination of the terms “broadcast” and “iPod” (the popular mp3-player from Apple ). Despite the name, you don’t actually need an iPod to create or listen to podcasts.
The benefits of podcasting
Obviously, we think podcasts are awesome. Anyone can do it – making it a fantastic, low-cost way to show people your talents or share your knowledge! Also, as a consumer, you decide what you want to watch or listen to. With podcasts, you’re holding the world in your hands!
Let’s take a look at a couple of benefits of podcasting:
- Podcasts are easy to create, distribute, and download - no professional equipment is required. All you need is a computer, a microphone, some free audio software and some space on a web server
- Podcasts are easy to consume; new podcasts are automatically downloaded as soon as they become available
- Listen when, where and to what you want – you can take your podcasts with you on your portable computer or mobile device wherever you go
- Reach a new and wider audience and build a relationship with your listeners
- If your podcasts becomes popular, you could even make some money through selling advertising slots
Types of podcasts
Audio podcasts: These podcasts are mostly mp3 format (sometimes they are also AAC). They are easy to create and the files are relatively small. Audio podcasts are perhaps the most common type of podcasts as they are compatible with most computers and mobile devices.
Video podcasts: Also called vodcast or vidcast – this type of podcast consist of online video content. Though video podcasts are getting more and more popular, they require a bit more effort to create. The files are significantly larger then audio podcasts. The most common formats for video podcasts are typically .m4v or mp4 H.264.
Enhanced podcasts: These podcasts combine audio with synced images. They often contain multiple still images that change like a slideshow, and you can also add chapter markers and hyperlinks. Enhanced podcasts are audio files in .m4a format (also known as mp4 or AAC format), with a layer for embedding the synced images. The fun thing about enhanced podcasts is that you can still show images alongside the audio, but keep the file relatively small.
The most popular enhanced podcast uses Apple's featured AAC format and can be played back on an iPod or with QuickTime Player. Enhanced podcasts can also be played back on any Mac or Windows computer that has iTunes installed. To create an AAC enhanced podcast you can use software like Apple’s Garageband (for Mac) and Podcaster (for Windows and Mac).
Note: Enhanced podcasts are currently not playable in Windows Media Player.
Screencasts: Screencasts are a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture. Essentially, it’s a digital movie where the setting is primarily a computer screen, often with audio narration describing what is occurring onscreen.
Podcast novel: A podcast novel is a serialized audio book, which can be narrated by a single person or different voice actors . Some contain sound effects as well.
Podcast novels are great for new writers who want to get their stories out there. Sometimes famous writers publish part of their new work to promote it.
PDF or ePub podcast: These podcasts consist of PDF or ePub documents. They are great for publishing (serialized) stories, newsletters (through RSS syndication), educational documents, etc.
A podcatcher is an application used to download media via an RSS or XML-feed. Using a podcatcher, you can easily subscribe to your favourite podcasts. The podcatcher automatically checks for updates and downloads new files. With a podcatcher you can watch or listen offline while streaming requires an internet connection.
Wikipedia has a great listing of different podcatchers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcatcher
If you have any further questions about podcasts, feel free to contact us via email: .
We are happy to provide you with information, tips, tricks and more!