Regular readers will know that I’m into RSS readers. There’s not a more efficient way to browse through dozens of websites than using an app that brings their headlines, a summary, and the article directly to you.
The past year or so I’ve flirted with different podcast player apps. Apple includes a Podcast app on iPhone and iPad, and there’s not exactly a shortage of Podcast apps for the Mac. The one I’ve chosen to use is called Downcast, mostly because it has the features I think are needed to listen to Podcasts, but also because it syncs up to iPhone and iPad versions of the same app.
In a way, Podcasts are like an audio or video version of an RSS feed. The player retrieves subscribed to Podcasts and makes them ready and available to play; Mac, iPhone, iPad. Downcast also makes it easy to search and subscribe to Podcasts and manages subscriptions, plus sends out notifications of new episodes.
Downcast, in addition to syncing up your Podcast playlists between Apple’s iDevices, will download new episodes automatically, let you keep and browse through older episodes, and even import or export a subscription list from or to other Podcast player apps.
There’s much to like with Downcast except that there’s no try-before-you-buy option and on any Mac app that costs more than $4.00 that’s a crime. If you’re new to Podcasts then you’re likely to be surprised at the variety of audio and video shows available on almost every topic you can think of.
If you’re only interested in a Podcast player for your iPhone or iPad, consider Overcast first. It syncs subscriptions between devices but has a few features not found in other apps, such as the ability to squeeze the air out of a Podcast episode, making it shorter, which saves time.