Spoiled for choice for getting podcasts

I use Winamp as my default media player. I also have iTunes as well as Windows Media Player that comes with the operating system.

But I use Winamp when I want to listen to podcasts on my PC. It’s a compact program with a minimalist display that scrolls the show title and has a nice digital timer so I can see where I am in a particular show. Just what I want.

Over the weekend, I upgraded to the latest free version 5.1 released last Thursday. This new version has direct podcasting support with SHOUTcast Wire – a built-in podcast directory and RSS subscription service.

While you can subscribe to podcasts, there’s no support for syncing them to your iPod (but you can do that with this plugin). What you can do, though, is double-click on a particular podcast in the SHOUTcast Wire directory, and it will stream the audio and start playing the podcast immediately. So if you have broadband or other high-speed net connection, it’s worthwhile listening before you download. Neat.

There’s now a lot of choice out there to get your podcasts and sync them with your iPod. Let’s see… for Windows PCs, we have iPodder, DopplerRadio and iTunes, undoubtedly the Big Three podcatchers. There’s also Odeo and a newcomer, Ziepod. There’s also the FeedDemon RSS aggregator which will sync your podcasts with iTunes and thus to your iPod.

I’ve used all these apps at one time or another, and they all do a good job to achieve what you want. Currently, I use iTunes as my primary podcatcher with FeedDemon to get some shows that aren’t in the iTunes directory, as well as acting as a sort of ‘backup podcatcher’ where some shows don’t appear quickly enough in the iTunes directory.

As for which is the best one, or the easiest and most reliable to use, if the download stats from Libsyn for For Immediate Release are anything to go by, that’s clearly iTunes – consistently the top podcatcher for getting our show over the past three months.