If You’re Still Using iTunes to Listen To/Watch Your Podcasts, You’re Doing It Wrong

I’ve been getting my news (tech and otherwise) via audio and video podcasts for years. In the beginning there were more independent podcasters not connected to any media outlet, but the attraction was that the ones that stayed on my playlist were good at reporting or commenting on their area of expertise and I could keep up with the news stream without being locked down to listening at particular times or days. It was a hell of a lot better than anything on the radio or TV as far as efficiently getting the news and keeping track of technology trends. In fact the biggest hassle was making sure to refresh my pod-catching software on whatever computer I was using and then syncing the new feeds onto my iOS device so that I could listen when I was on the go.

At one point I had iTunes pulling down podcasts on my three different macs because I might want to watch a video podcast on my TV that was connected to my mac mini or watch it on my iMac or listen to it on my macbook pro. There were more than a few times when I was not entirely sure about which shows I’d already viewed or not. And if I happened to not have access to good wifi I might miss that day’s feeds and end up with a back-log of podcasts to listen to. And then I could only sync my iPod or iPhone to one mac so I would have to decide which computer was the “main” computer with the most complete podcasting list. It was almost becoming more of a hassle than it was worth. Things got a little better with Home Sharing, where you could watch/listen to content from one Mac on another Mac on the same network. When I got my first iPad I knew that I wanted to view my podcasts there and it seemed logical to listen to my audio podcasts on my iPhone, but the weak link was still iTunes and downloading which content on which mac to view wherever. It didn’t help that Apple kept tweaking iTunes, it would seem, to be less podcast friendly. Then I heard about an iOS app called Downcast on iPad Today and, oh my god, I suddenly realized, all this time I was doing it wrong.

In this Post-PC-era why am I having to download my podcasts to a computer so that I can watch/listen to it on my iOS devices? WTF? Enter Downcast. I can directly download and play my podcasts directly on my device. OMG! Added benefits, using Downcast I can play my podcasts back at 2x or 3x speeds (and multiple variables in between) and, using AirPlay, I can play my video podcasts on my iPad and view them big-screen on my TV (that’s connected to my Apple-TV). It is so much easier to manage my many, many podcasts on the device directly.

There are several other iOS apps that are similar to Downcast, but not nearly as complete. On the list would be Podcaster (iPhone only) or Stitcher (both iPad & iPhone).