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A podcast is digital media in a series of related content that is downloaded by a subscription through web syndication or streamed online onto either a computer or mobile device. The word podcast was derived from the terms “broadcast” and “pod,” by the success of the iPod. Most podcasts are streamed or downloaded onto mobile devices such as smartphones and the iPod. The podcast is media transferred to a user’s device, similar to a radio or TV broadcast.
The podcast files are stored and maintained on the distributor’s server as a web feed. The user will have an application known as a podcatcher to access the files. The user can check for updates and download any new files. This can be done automatically. The user stores the files on a computer or mobile device for offline use.
The first application developed for podcast use was the iPodderx, developed by August Trometer and Ray Slakinski. In June 2005, Apple released iTunes 4.9 which supported the use of podcasts. As of September 20, 2005, there were 24 trademark applications containing the word podcast. All were rejected but one, named “podcast ready.”
The different types of podcasts are video, enhanced, and novel.
The video podcast, sometimes referred to as a vodcast, includes video clips and are often web TV series that are distributed as video podcasts. Faster internet speeds have been created and video podcast are becoming more popular by using short clips as part of a longer recording. Websites are being created for the intention of video clips and podcasts only. These video podcasts are being streamed on private and public networks bringing a new level of communication. A video podcast is typically 2 – 9 minutes long and used mainly for video blogs, advertising, amateur films, and journalism.
An enhanced podcast simultaneously displays images with the podcast, like chapter markers, hyperlinks, and artwork synchronized to the program or device. All the media and information should be displayed in the same window at the same time. Schools, universities and businesses are using enhanced podcasts to efficiently present lectures, slide shows, video clips, and other types of media.
A podcast novel is an audio book that combines with the podcast and is delivered to the user in a series. Each episode is delivered over a period of time, and when all episodes have been delivered, the user will have the completed audio book. This can be done automatically by RSS through a website, blog, or other method. These podcasts can be listened to immediately or loaded onto the user’s device and listened to later. Some podcast novels are narrated by one individual, while others use multiple characters and sound effects. Podcast novelists have stated that the extra exposure to their novels lets them build an audience even if the novel is not published; this sometimes helps the author gain recognition and secure publishing deals.