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Summary:

As Zune details became available some folks understandably complained about the lack of podcasting support, but there’s an important distinction here that people new to podcasting might overlook. While the Zune software currently doesn’t allow you to subscribe and download to podcasts natively the way iTunes […]

Zune_podcastAs Zune details became available some folks understandably complained about the lack of podcasting support, but there’s an important distinction here that people new to podcasting might overlook. While the Zune software currently doesn’t allow you to subscribe and download to podcasts natively the way iTunes does, the Zune hardware most certainly does support audio and video podcasts. A Zune software upgrade could add this functionality and I’d expect we’ll see that over time; Microsoft can only hide from RSS for so long: case in point being the integrated RSS reading within IE 7 and Outlook 2007.

I made a snap decision today and have a Zune in hand. In fact, right after I wrote my post about the Xbox Live Video service and the future possibility of watching those videos on a Zune, I called my better-looking better-half who was out shopping and had her pick up a Zune for me. I’ve already got podcasts on the Zune and it was a simple matter to be honest.

Doppler

Any good podcatcher application (I used Doppler in this example) will allow you to specify where to save the RSS enclosures it downloads, so I simply created a "My Podcasts" folder under My Documents and configured the Zune software to monitor that folder. Just like Windows Media Player, you can tell the Zune software to watch as many (or as few) folders as you like for content.

Doppler_storage

That’s it….no rocket science here and now my podcasts are automatically synched over to the Zune hardware. This will work with videos as well, provided your podcatching software supports video file downloads. Bear in mind that some video podcasts are only available in a Quicktime format, but I suspect I’ll have a workaround for that before long and I will post if that’s the case. My previous viewing of "the show with zefrank" in Windows Media Center via TVTonic has my thinking about this particular issue. So…..anyone in the Philadelphia area want to share some music over WiFi? Now I know how the person with the first fax machine must have felt….

  1. Ummm, OK. So maybe you don’t do podcasts very much, but there’s a whole lot more to podcasting support than just RSS downloading in the music client. Does the Zune hardward remember where you left off? Cause, you know, when you are listening to that hour long political rant you really want to have to remember you were at 35:42 and fast forward back there the next time. Does the Zune understand episodes of a single podcast? How about show notes embedded in the MP3?

    See, when we said that it sucked that the Zune did not support podcasting, we didn’t mean that we were too dumb to get our downloaded podcasts into the Zune software and synced to our Zune. There’s a lot more to podcasting support than that. (It is entirely possible that the Zune does all of these things and more. I have not read that anywhere, nor is that the argument you are using here to justify you completely irrational Zune lust)

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  2. Nate, thanks for the comment! Let’s clear a few things up right away and then get some answers to your questions. My intent wasn’t to provide a full review of the podcasting support for the Zune; it was simply to clarify what I think could be a confusing point for folks new to podcasts. As far as my being new to podcasts or not “doing” them so much, I’ve co-hosted and post-produced over 100 podcasts, was part of the first commercial podcast network and wrote one of the first (if not the first) print articles on podcasting back in October 2004. I get what you’re saying, but again, the intent of my post was one of clarification.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s address some of your questions. If you pause or shut off the Zune and then press play, it will pick up where it left off for a podcast or a song. The menu for videos actually has a Resume option, which I’d like to see in the audio menus. Single podcast episodes show as they would for single audio tracks on an album; provided the podcaster keeps their ID3 tags consistent, this works just like on the iPod. Unfortunately, I can’t answer your question about show notes embedded in the MP3 file as none of the podcasts I subscribe to or publish use that mechanism.

    Is the Zune the best thing since sliced bread andor is it better than the iPod? Yes and no; it all depends on your particular needs. I own both devices, not because of some “irrational lust” but because they both satisfy my needs and I try to share opinions and thoughts on devices for other people to use in their purchasing decisions. Thanks!

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  3. @ Nate

    Dude, what’s your problem! What do you mean KCT doesn’t do podcasts very much! The guy has 78 episodes at MOTR, plus many more video’s here at JKOnTheRun! I’m sure that he is actively listening to MANY other podcasts to be up to date!

    Instead of being a complete jerk on the blog, you should drive to your local Target/Wal-Mart/Best Buy, and try out the device!

    I sense sour-grapes from this iFanboy!

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  4. You can also use the new free program that has integrated support for PodCasts and Zune, FeedYourZune.

    Check here for a review:
    http://www.zune-online.com/news/zune/zune-podcast-unofficial-support.html (unofficial).

    — Zune-Online.com Share your Zune Experience!

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