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Podcasts and iplayer

(6 Posts)
Casey Mon 27-May-13 16:35:59

I am such a Luddite..

I want to listen to Judy Fairbairns on woman's hour this morning.
What is the difference between listening on iplayer? And "downloading a podcast"?

NetworkGuy Mon 27-May-13 17:49:34

If you download a podcast you can play it on most mobile phones, any cheap MP3 player (not just an Apple iPod, though I guess that caused the name) and via many different types of player on Windows, Mac and Linux computers (as an MP3 is a very popular sound format, and most widely used, a little like CDs compared with other media such as mini-disc {never got very popular}, cassette tape {yuk} and 8-track etc).

It will be a fairly small file, usually <some name>.MP3 (a few minutes of audio can be saved in 2 MB. An hour of audio could run to 100 MB or more, depending on the quality of the recording.

Once downloaded, it should generally be playable forever (and you can copy it from one device to another, copy parts of it {using sound edit software), etc, etc. You have a 'digital copy' of the show and can do with it what you want (though public performance, uploading to some sites after modification, etc, may break copyright laws - your copy is for your personal use, unless you have permission from the source to do something else with a copy).

iPlayer allows you to listen, now, via your device (games console, satellite box, computer, phone, tablet) but generally won't allow you to record it too, and cannot be played once it is no longer shown on BBC web site.

Casey Mon 27-May-13 18:16:56

Thank you. So if I don't want to clog up the memory on my device and just want to listen to it once, iplayer is the way to go?

I have a small mobile Internet monthly contract: generally just for checking FB and emails on the go.

If I desperately wanted to listen to a particular broadcast, which would take less memory to download?

(But from what you say, I could download the podcast via wifi, then listen to it whilst on the move?)

... I might actually get myself into this century!

nannynick Mon 27-May-13 19:43:04

I would suggest always downloading these sort of things via wifi, as they can be big and thus use up a lot of data allowance.

Things like Woman's Hour can be quite long as it is the whole show, not just a particular segment. So you may want to download to a device which will easily move through the file... such as using Windows Media Player which has a position slider, whereas on a mobile phone you may only get the option to play, pause, stop, depending on the features on the phone. Depends on the show as well, I can't find details of when Judy appears on the show, so you probably have no choice but to listen to all of it.

Whilst the BBC does encode things at different rates, not all things will be, especially radio. Looks to me that I can stream it at either low: 20MB or high:54MB. The podcast is 35MB, so looks like they may have encoded it at 3 different rates. However without certain software you can't find that sort of thing out easily and even when you can, you may not get any choice which data stream your device downloads.

Woman's Hour, 27 May, is 35MB as podcast (mp3 format) - Link to webpage

I would expect iPlayer on a desktop computer would use the higher version where as iPlayer Radio app (the mobile app for iOS and Android) may use the lower rate, though it could well use the same as iPlayer web/desktop.

Really though that is all getting a bit complex, not something you really need to worry about if you have WiFi and broadband connection. Sound files are not huge, unlike video.

I would select based on whichever device you plan to listen on - if listening via computer, then use the iplayer web interface, or the woman's hour webpage player.
If you want to listen via your mobile at a later time... then download the podcast (mp3).

NetworkGuy Tue 28-May-13 09:48:35

NN - from that web page it seems they have recorded 75 minutes. I don't know if that's in error, as they normally (based on the other shows available for download) seem to record only 45 minutes.

Definitely download via wi-fi for listening at your leisure, but you're unlikely to "clog up" the memory too much as these audio files are generally quite small in the scheme of things. Even the 35 MB "monster" which seems most likely to be in error, as it's definitely not "the norm".

However, I guess it depends what you are planning to play it on. Most MP3 players will have from 1 GB to 32 GB of storage, and some phones may have 200 MB to 8 GB inside, plus the ability to insert a micro-SD card (so you can add 2 GB, or 4 or 8 or whatever). 2 GB micro SD can be found online as low as 2 pounds, so it would not break the bank to add extra storage to many phones... and that 2000 MB would hold many photos or music tracks and even a few dozen radio shows smile

Casey Tue 28-May-13 09:53:48

Thank you.

I may come return in my quest to break out from my Luddite nature!

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