written by: LE•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 12/9/2009
iTunes is bundled with Mac OS X. If you haven't already, you should download the latest version. Here's why: It is one of the most efficient and smoothest-running video and audio streaming devices available anywhere. Put in one word what does that mean? Podcasts.
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Even if you are new to Macs, the web, or iTunes you've probably heard of Podcasts. Without doubt you should be excited about the many-splendored offerings on any given day through Apple's propriety codecs and streaming technology. Sure they are not going to tell you how they got the audio and video to stream so smoothly to your computer (maybe one day they'll show youTube how to do it. Take that YouTube! Yes I said it, your video streaming is choppy! Okay maybe it's because I only have 64MB of VRAM .)
The author tells you this from personal experience. Hands down this is the best mp3 streaming and video feed that I have found to use with a Mac. There is rarely a long delay when clicking play on the video player and the radio podcasts are the highest quality sound and streaming that I have heard yet.
Personally, I use Mac OS X (pronounced Oh-Es-TEN) Tiger which is for you more technical folks version 10.4.11. I've found no better marriage of technology and machine than Mac currently provides--proprietary or not. The Mac OS delivers high quality consistently, whether it's graphics, videos or music. I have even recently invested in some peripheral devices that optimize this fact even more. A simple upgrade of an audio interface like M-Audio Fast Track and a decent pair of headphones will enhance Pod-listening and video watching immensely.
Now on to the actual podcasts themselves.
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Radio Shows and Video Stories
I'm a fan of comedy, always have been. I use iTunes to access Podcasts like Adam Carolla and Marc Maron's WTF. I also occasionally enjoy an NPR episode of This American Life. And this is not even to mention the great Internet radio stations I've found such as Attention Span Radio 2, CBC Jazz, Monkey Radio, and ASCAP Radio. The main story here is that iTunes is main "hub" if you will to access all this great content (pun completely intended.) And it isn't like it's very difficult to find or use, there's no Tivo-ing no channel flipping, no noisy commercials and no monthly cable bills (unless you use a cable modem to access the Internet which I actually recommend.)
That iTunes offers one of the best ways to track and monetize this with things like Podcasts of both the audio and video variety for content producers, will mean that the little consumers will win and the little producers will win, and the corporations will fall like dinosaurs. Okay maybe not instantly or overnight but Podcasts are still great.
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Things Are Amazing and Cheap
Here is why Podcasts are great: they benefit content providers, and they benefit content consumers For content providers they provide a cheap way to produce content by the sometimes very talented with little or no overhead. All it takes is some know-how, some computer savvy, often with just entry-level consumer-grade equipment to produce audio and video content. And for the consumers like me and you, we can access this streamlined streaming and gain the benefits of Moore's Law and hours and hours and years and years of software engineering and hardware refinement. Things are amazing and cheap!
So do yourself a favor. Buy a Mac. Download iTunes. And enjoy hours and hours of (often free and uncensored) audio and video podcasts. I have. And I hope you will too.