During my work on Instacast 2.0, I came across multiple issues that I wasn't pleased about, stuff I would like to support, but wasn't able to, because the podcast specification or at least the implementation of it by most podcast publishers is not advanced enough. A common problem e.g. is the issue with multiple feed formats.
Most podcast publishers are using the MP3 format for their audio content, because they want to make sure that most potential listeners are able to listen without problems no matter what device or platform they use. MP3 is supported by nearly everybody. However some are using MP4 e.g. because they want to include chapter information and provide images during playback. This however frustrates users with older hardware that is not able to decode MPEG-4 audio. Others want to provide their content in different qualities to empower 48k modem users and iPad LTE users at the same time. The common solution is to provide multiple podcast feeds and give them a different title. This however is by far not the best solution! Podcast directories now include multiple entries with the same content and users often don't choose the version that is best suited for them individually.
The current podcast specification (the Atom variant at least) however allows for a linking between alternative feeds, however no podcast client is using this information to this date and thus no publisher is providing it so far – up until today.
Instacast 2.0 will include support for Multi-Format feeds. What do I mean by that? Publishers should not only add a self-link as a child note to the channel/feed tag, but also alternate-links to alternative feeds and give them distinctive titles.
Here is an Atom example:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" href="http://podcast.com/low.atom" title="Low Bandwidth Feed"/> <link rel="self" type="application/atom+xml" href="http://podcast.com/enhanced.atom" title="Enhanced Feed"/>
And here is an RSS example:
<atom:link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="http://podcast.com/low.rss" title="Low Bandwidth Feed"/> <atom:link rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" href="http://podcast.com/enhanced.rss" title="Enhanced Feed"/>
Instacast 2.0 then uses this information to display the following dialog when parsing a podcast feed in the Online Directory:
With this feature, it doesn't matter anymore if the potential listener uses the URL to the low bandwidth feed or to the enhanced feed. He will get a dialog where he can choose explicitly which podcast feed he likes to subscribe to.
Now, I don't know of any publisher who does this currently. My only hope is that now as there is a client which offers this functionality, more and more publishers are changing their feeds and make the life of their listeners a little more pleasant. Ask your publisher to support it and let me know of podcast feeds that include these tags.
May 2nd, 2012 • Permalink
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05/03/2013 - Instacast for Mac - Tips and Tricks Part Two (System Functions)
05/02/2013 - Instacast for Mac - Tips and Tricks Part One (Playback)
05/01/2013 - Instacast for Mac - Public Beta Available
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