Podcasts have become a good way for cord cutters to get up to date info in lieu of broadcast news or TV shows. Thanks to the Apple TV, bringing them into the living room is a piece of cake. There are two options for getting this done, depending on your home set up and network configuration.
What is a ‘video podcast’?
Starting out as a means to embed media in an RSS feed in 2004, podcasts originally automated the distribution of audio to desktops and portable music players via subscriptions. As podcasters (individuals who make and distribute podcasts) have transitioned from audio to video, production companies have entered the field. New content providers like Mevio, Revision3 and TWiT TV are now competing directly with established networks like NPR, Discovery, and the BBC. Eventually, video podcasts managed from an iTunes account on the Apple TV could have the potential to be just as big as a living room content vector as YouTube, Netflix or even cable.
Accessing video podcasts directly from the Apple TV
The easiest way to view a video podcast is to find it on the Apple TV itself. You can access a list of readily available podcasts from the Internet menu of the Apple TV by selecting “Podcasts.” Here you can browse by popularity, genre, provider or even search for a podcast by name. If you’re logged in to your iTunes account, you will also be able to add individual podcasts to list of favorites that will be accessible from the Apple TV’s podcast main menu. The challenge is that there is only one list of favorites per Apple TV, and that list can become quite large depending on how many cord cutters you have lounging around.
Home Sharing your video podcast subscriptions from iTunes
If you manage multiple Apple TVs, or if you have multiple cord cutters sharing a single Apple TV, then perhaps an easier way to manage all of your podcast subscriptions is from iTunes running on a Mac. This is the best of both worlds, as you don’t have to repeatedly set up your favorites on each Apple TV, and every user on the network can manage their own collection of shared subscriptions with their iTunes account.
Subscribing to podcasts in iTunes:
- From the iTunes General Preferences, ensure Show Podcasts is checked.
- From iTunes Parental Preferences, ensure Disable Podcasts and Disable iTunes Store are not checked.
- Open the iTunes Store located under in the left navigation pane of iTunes.
- From the Podcasts drop down list in the iTunes Store, select Video Podcasts.
- Browse and choose a video podcast you which to subscribe to.
- Click “Subscribe Free” on the podcast page in iTunes.
Managing Updates to Subscriptions. Once you have subscribed to one or more podcasts, you can manage how often iTunes looks for updates, as well as how many episodes are kept on your computer at once.
- Open Podcasts located under Library in the left navigation pane of iTunes.
- Click on the Settings button on the bottom go the Podcasts window in iTunes.
- Set how often iTunes should check for new episodes, which episodes to download, and which episodes to keep.
Set up Home Sharing:
- From iTunes Advanced menu, select “Turn On Home Sharing.”
- Enter your iTunes account information and click on the “Create Home Share” button in iTunes.
- From your Apple TV Settings menu, select “Computers.”
- Enter your iTunes account information.
- Open the Apple TV Computer menu and select the Home Share name you created above.
Once you follow the steps above, you’ll be able to play any podcast on your Apple TV that you’ve subscribed to on your Mac. Between the two options, watching streaming podcasts directly on my Apple TV, or streaming downloaded podcasts from my Mac, I would have to say I prefer the latter, since I don’t have to worry about network issues and if I have my settings configured properly, I won’t wait for content to download. Any tips or preferences for Apple TV podcast viewing you’d like to share?