A podcast is a form of communication which allows access to audio and video contents by means of special software applications, called "aggregators" or "feed aggregators", which notify the user when new podcasts are made available, and automatically download them.
There are several ways of listening to/viewing a podcast. The user can access the site where the podcast is hosted and directly download the audio/video file by clicking on the appropriate link.
Specific software, i.e. RSS feed aggregators, may also be used. Aggregators are software applications capable of reading pages in XML format which notify users of the release of new podcasts. To subscribe to such automatic update systems, the link to the XML document must be located on the site where the podcast is hosted (usually identified by an “RSS” or “RSS FEED” icon). By clicking on the link, the aggregator will periodically check whether new contents have been made available on the site, notifying the user if they have. The aggregator will then be able to download the text and (in some cases) any multimedia files.
Specific podcasting software is also available for the automatic download of posted podcasts. iTunes may also be used to subscribe to podcasting services.
Recent versions of the most popular Internet browsers (e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox) include basic podcast management functions.
If you wish to take full advantage of the potential of podcasting, consider installing one of the following software applications:
iTunes in addition to being a multimedia player, is also a podcast aggregator. Furthermore, the iTunes Music Store offers a selection of the best podcasts available on the Net.
iTunes - http://www.apple.com/itunes/
Available for MacOS and Windows.
NetNewsWire. Freeware aggregator for text and multimedia contents.
NetNewsWire - http://www.newsgator.com/Individuals/NetNewsWire/
Available for MacOS.
Juice. Freeware aggregator for text and multimedia contents.
Juice - http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/
Available for MacOS, Windows and Linux.
Doppler. Aggregator for text and multimedia contents.
Doppler - http://www.dopplerradio.net/
Available for MacOS, Windows and iPhone.
There are different ways to subscribe.
Open the website page on which the podcast is hosted, drag the feed icon onto iTunes, and iTunes will automatically subscribe to the podcast.
Access the iTunes store, open the "Music Store" window and select "Podcast". The available podcast categories will be shown in the window immediately below: browse through the category list, find the podcast you are interested in, then select it.