About Podcasting

What Is A Podcast?

A podcast is a digital audio or video file that you subscribe to via the Internet. If you've never subscribed to a website or online media before, then you may not know about RSS feeds or subscription. Simply stated, when you subscribe to online content, it's just like subscribing to a magazine . . . the content comes to you. You can decide how the content is delivered to you, such as to your email or to an aggregator such as iTunes. Just know that subscriiption-based services are freely available on the Internet and allow you to receive what you want, when you want it.

Therefore, a podcast is different from a basic downloadable or streamable audio file (mp3, wav, aiff, au) because of this subscription process. Using a subscription client (such as iTunes) that retrieves and interprets syndicated information, you are able to receive updates about new audio posts and download them directly to your personal media device (iPod, mp3 player, personal computer). A podcast normally consists of a collection of episodes, which sets it apart from a single media file.

Wikipedia's Definition of a Podcast

Here's what Wikipedia tells us about podcastings and podcasting:

A podcast is a collection of digital media files which is distributed over the Internet, often using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. The term podcast, like "broadcast", can refer either to the series of content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.

The term is a portmanteau of the words "iPod" and "broadcast", the AppleiPod being the brand of portable media player for which the first podcasting scripts were developed (see history of podcasting). These scripts allowed podcasts to be automatically transferred to a mobile device after they are downloaded.

Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.

Types of Podcasts

There are 3 main types of podcasts:

  1. Standard, audio podcast
  2. Enhanced podcast (audio, plus images, chapter markers, and/or hyperlinks)
  3. Video podcast
The type of podcast will determine the type of equipment and software you will need. Generally speaking, the more sophisticated the podcast, the more time it takes to create and produce, more expensive equipment will be needed, and it will take more technical skill. However, don't let that deter you from creating more complex podcasts. They are not that difficult to
produce.
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