Audio podcasts, by their very nature, are designed to be listened to on portable media players such as the ubiquitous iPod. However, these podcasts are essentially computer audio files that can be played back on a variety of media devices, be they portable or not, which opens up a host of possible listening opportunities.
A podcast at its simplest level is nothing special. In essence an audio podcast is a simple computer audio file (usually in an MP3 format), that can be played back on a range of equipment from desktop PCs to mobile phones and MP3 players.
The vast array of modern devices that now support the playback of MP3 files, and consequently podcasts, is bewildering. This in part has been instrumental in the success of podcasts, because they can be listened to practically anywhere, making them an extremely accessible media format.
Wherever you Want
Due to the wide variety of portable media devices capable of playing MP3 files, you can listen to your favourite podcasts virtually wherever and whenever you want. Some of the most common places being:
- Walking / Jogging
- Gym / Exercising
- Commuting / Travelling
Where and How
Where Defines How
Where you chose to listen to your podcasts may have an impact on how you listen to your podcasts. For example, if you want to listen to your podcasts in the car on the way to work, a desktop PC will clearly not be your best option.
How Defines Where
Conversely, if you want to listen to your podcasts in high quality on a Hi-Fi system, then listening to your podcasts anywhere on the move is likewise not a terribly practical proposition.
Podcasts are usually recorded as MP3 files, and can be recorded at a variety of bit rates that directly affect the quality of the resultant podcasts. Higher bit rates give better quality audio.
Unfortunately, when you download a podcast the bit rate has been fixed by the podcast’s producer and there’s nothing further that you can do to improve its quality. However, the type of system that you choose to listen to your podcasts on may enable you to get the best out of the quality available.
For example, listening to a podcast on a tiny pair of speakers built in to your average laptop will never give the same quality as listening to the same podcast via an iPod linked in to your Hi-Fi system.
Does this matter? Probably not, unless it’s a music based podcast, as the primary choice in how you listen to a podcast is most likely not that you want it in absolute fidelity, but rather where and when you are able to, or want to listen to the podcast.
The choices of how you listen to your podcasts can include:
- In-ear, mini headphones
- Conventional headphones
- On the car stereo system via an FM radio transmitter
- On the car stereo system via a direct jack connection
- On a laptop with the built in speakers
- On a PC via desktop speakers
- On your Hi-Fi system’s speakers
Have Your Say
How, where and when you listen to your podcasts may be dependent on many factors from what equipment you have available to listen to them, whether you’re fussy on the audio quality of the podcasts and on your lifestyle (where you can afford the time to listen to podcasts).
Select as many answers from the list below that are applicable to how you listen to your podcasts. Once you have submitted your answers, you will get to see the results of the poll so far. If the categories don’t fit perfectly, pick the closest that you feel apply.
If you’d like to leave any comments in the section below on your podcast listening habits such as how, where and when you listen to your podcasts, I’d be really interested to hear. Thanks!