Podcasts need Bittorrent

I just heard Kevin Rose in the most recent TWiT say “Podcast clients need to support Bittorrent.” I guess he doesn’t realize that other than iTunes, almost all of them do. I’ve had the Bittorrent feed for a year and a half now. To this day, my default feed remains Bittorrent. I think really what he needs to say is “people need to use podcatching clients that aren’t iTunes so they can use the Bittorrent support that has been built into this medium from the beginning.”

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

8 thoughts on “Podcasts need Bittorrent”

  1. A fair point, but it’s tough to expect the average consumer to adopt something as complicated as using BitTorrent and a rather inelegant system for downloading files. iTunes takes the geek factor out of subscribing to podcasts and makes it understandable by mere mortals. If iTunes added torrent support in a way that made it simple, without requiring the user to download another app that’s merely a proxy, the consumer wins. As it stands, I need one app to manage my music (iTunes) and a second app to manage a torrented podcasts (Transistr, iPodder, etc). This works for power users like me who use Azureus to subscribe to all kinds of RSS feeds, but is plain ugly for the person who just wants to download their favorite show with the least amount of hassle.

  2. David Jacobs says:

    Transistr is pretty easy to use, but the one thing that has hooked me on iTunes is it’s ability to restart podcasts from the spot you stopped listening to them from. Can any other podcatcher do this? I would switch in a second is it could.

  3. dave says:

    Jake, You are not alone in saying that subscribing with one app to receive and using iTunes to listen/sync is complex, but I really don’t understand that. Particularly if you aren’t changing your subscriptions often, Transistr or Juice or what have you are pretty much set-it-and-forget-it and not at all complex. You make it sound like it’s ongoing work to make the new stuff show up, when the fact that it isn’t is what makes this merry go round turn.

    I use both an RSS reader and a web browser, even though each could be coerced to do the job of the other, it’s just more efficient to let each do what it does best. It would be easy enough to forget that I’m using iPodderX/Transistr after a while. Stuff just shows up by magic periodically, not because I do something to make it happen.

    David, you can do that with Transistr. You can set it to convert MP3s to AAC and make them bookmarkable. I do it with every one of my feeds and have for the last year. You can set it to make that your default choice on newly added feeds.

  4. MissM says:

    Juice is my podcast aggregator. It will download torrent files, but it won’t seed them. Perhaps that’s what Kevin was talking about? I heard that a future version of Juice would seed torrents(but its been more than 6 months, since I heard that). I think that would be a great thing to do. I tried IpodderX, but I’m kinda waiting on the new and improved version.

  5. That quote is a bit out of context. In the same discussion they mentioned how other programs do support it. iTunes, being the prefered podcast software for the commonman, needs to support bt. Only then will the bandwidth choke ease up.

  6. Tilted Edge says:

    I tried iTunes and I hate it. For one thing it is an enormously bloated program. I also am totally against the whole concrpt of iTunes. Why should all songs be the same price? Even toilet paper has different prices. Why should Apple be able to dictate the price of each song? I hope iTunes dies!

  7. Dave, to follow up on what I said earlier, the problem isn’t in dealing with the subscription after it’s setup, it’s the initial setup hurdle. Most people (I’m generalizing based on hundreds of questions I’ve seen over the past 5 years) don’t even know how to create custom playlists in iTunes or Windows Media Player. I recently had a woman email me because she couldn’t figure out how to add songs she imported via Windows Media Player to her iTunes library for syncing with an iPod.

    Yes an RSS reader is far better at consuming feeds than a browser. At the same time, more people are reading RSS via My Yahoo, Bloglines, etc. than by Newsgator, NetNewsWire, etc. The population of people in the world currently using RSS is tiny before you start further shrinking that number to include only people who subscribe to podcasts.

    I don’t personally use iTunes to subscribe to podcasts because I perfer FeedDemon for podcasts, FireAnt for video and Azuerus for some other random feeds. I’m also one of those people who adds additional details to my media file metadata.

    The average person wants the simplicity of clicking a link and adding to their media player without additional steps, the same way that clicking a stream launches the associated application for immediate playback.

  8. dave says:

    Jake, fair enough. I wonder if something like a Mozilla plugin that adds to the click menu choices like “subscribe to this with RSS Reader X”, “Subscribe with Podcast reader Y” sort of thing would help. The problem is that people who can install that plugin are probably not the people who would need it. So the cycle turns.

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