Monday, May 8

Do you know Podcasting?

Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio programs or music videos, over the Internet for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The distribution format of a podcast uses either the RSS or Atom syndication formats.

Podcasting's essence is about creating content (audio or video) for an audience that wants to listen or watch when they want, where they want, and how they want.

The term podcast, like "radio", can mean both the content and the method of delivery. The host or author of a podcast is often referred to as a "podcaster".

Podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their files, however a podcast is distinguished by its ability to be downloaded automatically using software capable of reading RSS or Atom feeds.

Neither podcasting nor listening to podcasts requires an iPod or other portable player, and no over-the-air broadcasting is required.

Podcasting as a medium was first associated with, but never limited to, audio data. As use of RSS enclosures for video spread in 2005, podcasting of video data was called, among other things, "video blogging", "video podcasting", "vidcasting", "vlogging", "vodcasting", or "videocasting".

Podcasting is an automatic mechanism by which multimedia computer files are transferred from a server to a client, which pulls down XML files containing the Internet addresses of the media files. In general, these files contain audio or video but also could be images, text, PDF, or any file type.

The content provider begins by making a file (for example, an MP3 audio file) available on the Internet. This is usually done by posting the file on a publicly-available webserver; however, BitTorrent trackers also have been used, and it is not technically necessary that the file be publicly accessible. The only requirement is that the file be accessible through some known URI (a general-purpose Internet address). This file is often referred to as one episode of a podcast.

The content provider then acknowledges the existence of that file by referencing it in another file known as the feed. The feed is a machine-readable list of the URIs by which episodes of the show may be accessed.

This list is usually published in RSS format (although Atom can also be used), which provides other information, such as publish dates, titles, and accompanying text descriptions of the series and each of its episodes.

The feed may contain entries for all episodes in the series, but is typically limited to a short list of the most recent episodes, as is the case with many news feeds. Standard podcasts consist of a feed from one author. More recently multiple authors have been able to contribute episodes to a single podcast feed using concepts such as public podcasting and social podcasting.

The content provider posts the feed to a known location on a webserver. (Unlike the episode file itself, the feed is published to a webserver, usually not by other means.) The location at which the feed is posted is expected to be permanent. This location is known as the feed URI (or, perhaps more often, feed URL). The content provider makes this feed URI known to the intended audience.

A consumer enters this feed URI into a software program called a podcatcher or aggregator (the former term is specific to podcasting while the latter is general to all programs which collect news from feeds). This program retrieves and processes data from the feed URI.

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