Working With Zune Podcasts
Let's get right to the point...
Zune Podcasts? Yes, the Zune has good, no GREAT support for podcasts.
However, when the Zune was first released in 2006 it did not have support for podcasts. And some folks still think this is the case.
But now you know the truth.
What is a Zune Podcast?
And more importantly, why is it not called a zunecast?
The origins of the podcast date back to the days when the iPod was the most popular mp3 player. Ok, maybe those days are still not over. But mind you, they are numbered!
A podcast stems from combining the words iPod and broadcast. You can think of it as basically an on demand radio or TV show.
Podcasts used to be mostly about information. But nowadays you can find zune podcasts on pretty much any subject.
Want a workout? How about learning a new language? Or what about music for a workout?
You'll find Zune Podcasts on all these topics and more.
They are also no longer just audio. You have video podcasts too.
Best of all, they are usually free!
And for what it's worth, you could call them zunecasts. But even the Zune guys have given up and stuck with the name podcasts as can be seen from the Zune Software.
We've lost the battle, but we haven't lost the war!
Where do I find Zune Podcasts?
Now you know what they are, where do you find them?
Long gone are the days when Zune owners would install iTunes and use it to find podcasts. The Zune Marketplace is now your best option.
The Marketplace has a section for podcasts. They are categorized by several different genres - Business, News, Sports, Travel and many more.
Here's the sad fact. There are thousands and thousands of podcasts available for your listening pleasure. But most of them are not very pleasurable. Some turn out to be down right annoying!
Everyone has an opinion. And many choose to share it through podcasts.
But remember this...
Everyone's entitled to an opinion. Doesn't mean you need to listen to it!
So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?
A quick way is to look at the most popular podcasts. This is usually a good indication that the podcast merits further investigation.
The Marketplace makes this easy as it highlights the most popular ones right on the podcast homepage. You can also drill into them and filter only the audio podcasts or video podcasts depending on what you are looking for.
The Best of YouTube is currently number one as of this writing.
Another way to do this is to filter by genre. When you do this, the Marketplace sorts the podcasts by showing you the most subscribed at the top.
When you do this with the travel genre, you see that NPR: Car Talk is at the top. I like that show although I'm not sure what it has to do with travel. They certainly talk about cars and you use cars for travelling but I really fail to see the connection.
More importantly I found Travel With Rick Steves. I love the Rick Steves show on PBS so I immediately subscribed to this one.
Another one I found interesting was 60 Minutes. If you are familiar with this CBS show, you'll be thrilled to find the full version available as a podcast each week.
Of course your tastes will be different but I'm sure you'll find enough podcasts in the Zune Marketplace to pack your Zune. And most are free!
How do I subscribe to Zune Podcasts?
If you are subscribing to a podcast from the Zune Marketplace, you'll just need to click Subscribe. The podcast will be automatically downloaded and managed from then on out based on the preferences you've selected.
By default the last 3 episodes of a podcast series are downloaded and kept on your computer. But you can change this to keep only 1 or all of them.
Of course, you don't have to subscribe to check out a podcast. Each podcast episode is available for individual download. This is a great way to check out the content of a podcast before you exchange the vows and commit.
How do I sync Zune Podcasts?
Syncing podcasts to your Zune is a snap if you enable automatic sync for all your podcasts. With this option, your podcasts will be automatically refreshed each time you tether your Zune to your computer. No work on your part is required.
If you've chosen the manual sync option (like me), you'll have to do a little more work. After you connect your Zune to your computer, in the Zune Software just right click on the podcast series and select Sync. You can do this for an individual episode too.
I have not personally tested this yet, but if your Zune is within range of your home WI-FI network and you have WI-FI enabled on your Zune and you have automatic syncing of podcasts enabled then your Zune will be automatically updated with the latest episodes from your podcast subscriptions. Pretty cool!
How do I listen to Zune Podcasts?
Elementary, my dear Watson. Just go to the podcast section in your Zune menu and select any of the podcasts that have been synced.
You have a couple of options - play which will start your podcast and send which will beam the podcast to a nearby Zune if you have wireless enabled.
But you can also resume a podcast if you've previously listened to part of it. That's right, your Zune remembers where you left off. This is great for those long podcasts. Some of them are over an hour!
How do I unsubscribe from Zune Podcasts?
We're all human and we make mistakes. This includes subscribing to the wrong podcast.
If you come to the realization that the podcast you subscribed to just isn't right for you, don't worry. Simply Unsubscribe from the Zune Software and both of you can part ways. Trust me, there won't be any hard feelings.
Just remember to delete old podcasts from your Zune if you've selected manual sync.
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