Catching your favourite audio or video podcasts doesn't require you to be tethered to your computer. There are some great apps that allow you to download, organise and enjoy podcasts on the go. Here's a look at five of the most popular ones.
Photo by Johan Larssen.
BeyondPod is free, but after a 7-day initial trial, a lot of its features turn off. Drop $US6.99, and you get them all back. BeyondPod offers a huge directory of popular shows, and if the show you watch or listen to isn't in the directory, you can add its feed yourself. BeyondPod supports background downloads, and can even turn your phone's Wi-Fi radio on to download shows and turn it off again when it's finished. It'll also keep track of what you've listened to and how far into each show you've listened, all in an attractive interface.
iTunes may get the job done in iOS, but a number of you suggested Instacast as a superior option. Instacast can see the podcasts already on your iOS device, and then import their feeds so you don't have to re-add them manually. The app also saves where you stopped watching or listening, and will automatically go out and download your podcasts when you switch over to a Wi-Fi network. It supports background play, so you can listen while doing something else, or bring the app front and centre to read show notes or single-task. It's available for $2.49 in the iTunes App Store.
It may be a paid app, but a number of you said it was the best paid app you've ever spent money on. In addition to keeping a robust directory of shows, DoggCatcher supports audio and video podcasts from feeds you add manually, and secure feeds that require authentication. It also supports variable speed playback, and has its own integrated player that keeps track of where you pause or stop listening or watching. It's flexible and customisable if you want it to be, and if you don't, it'll completely automate fetching, downloading and organising your podcasts. It'll set you back $6.60 in the Android Market.
Downcast for iOS will cost you $2.49, but for that price you get the ability to set per-podcast retention times, so you can keep all of the old episodes of your favourite shows, and delete episodes of others as soon as you view them. Like all of the other apps, Downcast allows you to download podcasts in the background, multitask while downloading or listening, and manually add your feeds if they're not in the directory. Downcast also lets you create smart playlists of podcasts so you listen to similar things at the same time.
A number of you have a love/hate relationship with Google Listen. Many of you bemoaned the fact that Google hasn't updated the app in a long time, or has failed to roll its functionality into Android directly. Others noted that it does everything you need it to do, like organise, automatically update and download, and listen to your podcasts. You can add feeds, search Google Listen's directory of shows, and easily manage your played shows and subscriptions. You can also tell Google Listen to only download at night or when there's Wi-Fi. It's completely free, but it's missing the more advanced features of its paid counterparts.
This week's honorable mention goes out to Podcaster for iOS, a highly lauded $2.49 podcast catcher that supports push notifications, smart playlists, variable playback rates, background playback, and more.
Did your favourite app fall off the list? Have something to say about the final five? Share your thoughts in the comments.