When Apple conceived the iPod, it wanted to revolutionize the way music is consumed: storing an infinite number of music tracks on a portable device. But I probably did not expect this device to be behind a radical change in how the radio was granted. The term "podcast" today is omnipresent. Although digital radio programs are present from the origins of the Internet, only improvements in connection speeds and the rise of portable players made downloading podcasts somewhat massive.
The podcast brought unprecedented democratization. Unlike traditional radio, a podcast can be produced in a living room, without being subject to the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission. Today, there are thousands fluttering on the web, with a great diversity of themes. And although they are still a niche product, their popularity has grown in the last decade thanks to the cell phone. Some even speculate that it may be the end of traditional radio.
While you can download a podcast from a website, there are several applications available for iOS and Android that allow you to do it automatically. Denominated podcatchers, are available for several systems and are generally cheap or free.
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How to use podcast applications
A good podcasting application or podcatcher You must do at least two things: give yourself access to a podcast library and facilitate listening. They generally have a clean design and are easy to navigate.
Pocket Casts, for example, offers tabs to find trend podcasts, highlights and the most popular, as well as a search bar. When you select the “Top” tab, a list of the most popular podcasts among users appears.
One of the most efficient things about these applications is that they allow you to subscribe to a channel, instead of having to download individual podcasts. You just need to touch a button to do it. When you are subscribed, the application will usually alert you when there is a new episode and give you the possibility to download podcasts manually or play it online. Others will automatically download the latest podcast episodes to which you subscribe. In the case of Pocket Casts, you must activate this option.
The podcatchers They allow downloading podcasts on iOS and Android devices to be easier than doing it manually and transferring them to the memory of your device. These applications also have additional features designed to improve the user experience, such as the ability to speed up or slow down the audio.
The best applications to download podcasts
Google Podcasts (free)
The podcasts were limited to a small section of the Google Play Music application, but everything changed with Google Podcasts. It's elegant and stylish, with the clean look that characterizes any Google application, and it comes with access to millions of podcasts. Although it has fewer features than other applications, the developer is constantly adding new features, and has great integration with Google Assistant to compensate for it.
Castbox (free / in-app purchases)
Winner of several annual Google Play Awards, Castbox is being installed as an outstanding application in the field of podcasts. Its creators previously worked on Podcast Player and with that experience they created Castbox. It has most of what you would expect from a podcatcher, with access to more than a million podcasts, cloud sync and support for Chromecast and Amazon Echo. The design is clean and it is easy to find your favorite podcasts, share them on social networks and leave comments. Unfortunately, Castbox has ads and if you want to avoid them, you should pay $ 1 per month. If you are a podcaster, it offers you some services, such as unlimited hosting and advertising.
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Pocket Casts ($ 4 dollars)
Pocket Casts is an economic application available in most platforms. In addition to its library of more than 200,000 podcasts, it is quite simple to use and presents information with a clean design. In addition to the main features, it also offers a variety of functions: notifications to alert new episodes, voice balance so that all hosts of a program sound almost the same and adjust for playback speed. Users can also listen online instead of downloading them, saving storage space. With a $ 4 fee, Pocket Casts is one of the few applications that offers a single payment, rather than a monthly fee. If you want to use it on your PC, you must pay again. Still, it's still a bargain.
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Overcast (Free / $ 10 dollars)
IOS users may consider Overcast to be their best option. Designed exclusively for iOS, Overcast has a minimalist interface that adapts to Apple's design philosophy. Like Pocket Casts, it has features such as customizable playlists, standardization of voices and variable playback speeds, to listen to podcasts as you want. It also has a sleep timer, so users can listen to a podcast while they sleep. Its library is extensive and discovering new programs is easy. The application is also designed to work on Apple Watch, making it one of the podcatchers more versatile for Apple fans. The version of the application with advertising is free, but if you opt for the Premium without notices, you should pay $ 10 per year.
Stitcher Radio (free / in-app purchases)
Although probably the most important name, Stitcher is not as robust as applications like Overcast. It provides basic functions, such as the ability to subscribe, create lists and change the playback speed, but it lacks some features, such as sleep timers. The application is also prone to long loading times, failures and other problems. Although it's free, it has ads. It is compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and tablets, in addition to having integration with Alexa. Stitcher is enough for those who want to have something free to download podcasts, but if you can afford something, with Pocket Casts or Overcast you will probably find a better experience.
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Apple Podcasts (Free)
Apple fans don't have to look far for a podcatcher. The company's native application is already integrated into iOS devices, allowing its users to discover and subscribe to a different range of programming. Properly tagged podcasts automatically fit into the Apple ecosystem and sync with iTunes accounts. If you subscribe to a podcast on iTunes, this application will recognize your choices. Unfortunately, the application can be a bit confusing to create playlists or delete episodes. It is useful for simply downloading and listening to podcasts on an iPhone, but it does not compare with the ease and utility of Overcast.