Saturday, May 4, 2013

iTunes Podcasts on Roku

Years ago, when iTunes first premiered, I opted out; I decided not to download it because I use PCs and already have about a half-dozen media players, most of which I do not use. Once iTunes became the standard and many podcasts dropped LibSyn and became exclusive to the iTunes network, I decided I would give it a shot. It was a fair-sized download that took a few minutes and it took a bit of room on the old hard drive, but this wasn't what turned me off.

What got me is that, once I had it installed, it wanted my credit card information. Now, I purchase music from time to time - made three purchases just last month, in fact - but I prefer Amazon, namely because I'm an affiliate, so even my own purchases generate some revenue. Furthermore, I understand that iTunes basically rips off the artists. All that aside, I decided to enter my credit card information only to learn that it wasn't good enough; iTunes wants TWO credit cards and doesn't accept PayPal (or didn't then, anyway)!

Yeah, no thanks.

Not only would I rather use PayPal and do not care to have my credit cards on-file with 234,234,535 different websites, I have absolutely no plans to purchase, or subscribe to, anything - I was only downloading iTunes to have access to free podcasts that weren't available through RSS/Libsyn. And, again, I already have too many media players; I do not need another one!

This kind of sucked because a lot of podcasters prefer iTunes for the ratings. You need to subscribe or listen to their shows through iTunes for it to "count" in the ratings. Not to mention that LibSyn costs around $130.00 per year for the broadcaster. Two podcasts I have not listened to in a long time because they dropped LibSyn and went iTunes only are Jay Mohr's and Greg Fitzsimmons' and I missed them both. But, again, I wasn't about to DL yet another media player I already knew I would only be using for podcasts, especially when it requires not one but two credit cards to use.

So I was elated to discover the iTunes Podcasts channel on Roku. You do not need a credit card, nor do you have to create an iTunes account; you simply add the channel and start listening and/or subscribing to podcasts! You can search by provider, genre, or browse the top podcasts; you can also use the search function to find titles and artists. Once you find what you are looking for, click on any episode for the option to "Add to Favorites." It also has an autoplay feature that allows you to start playing from that episode to the last one.

I hate that iTunes only counts listeners who use the iTunes service because that's proprietary turf war shit; podcasters should realize and appreciate the listeners that use the embedded players on their websites, subscribe through RSS/LibSyn, watch their videos on YouTube, Unation, uStream, Yowie, et. al. - but none of these count toward Apple iTunes' ratings and those determine which podcasts are the "top." Obviously, podcasters want their shows to get the best ratings for numerous reasons (not all selfish), most importantly because it helps get them noticed and that helps them attract more listeners which means they can charge higher advertising rates from more advertisers, which means more ROI (return on investment) - and I honestly have zero problem with that! I'd much rather they got paid by advertisers so I can continue listening for free, I just don't want to jump through Apple's hoops to help make that happen.

All that said, I am definitely switching from WinAmp and RSS/LibSyn to iTune Podcasts on my Roku.

© C Harris Lynn, 2013
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