A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio files which a user can subscribe to so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user's own local computer, mobile application, or portable media player.
A portable media player or digital audio player is a portable consumer electronics device capable of storing and playing digital media such as audio, images, and video files.
In computer networks, to download is to receive data from a remote system, typically a server such as a web server, an FTP server, an email server, or other similar systems.
Web syndication is a form of syndication in which content is made available from one website to other sites.
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The word arose as a portmanteau of "iPod" and "broadcast".
The iPod is a line of portable media players and multi-purpose pocket computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first version was released on October 23, 2001, about 8 1⁄2 months after the Macintosh version of iTunes was released.
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content or other messages to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum, in a one-to-many model.
A portmanteau or portmanteau word is a linguistic blend of words, in which parts of multiple words or their phonemes are combined into a new word,
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Thus, the files distributed are in audio format, but may sometimes include other file formats such as PDF or ePub.
EPUB is an e-book file format that uses the ".epub" file extension.
The distributor of a podcast maintains a central list of the files on a server as a web feed that can be accessed through the Internet.
The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite to link billions of devices worldwide.
On the World Wide Web, a web feed is a data format used for providing users with frequently updated content.
The listener or viewer uses special client application software on a computer or media player, known as a podcatcher, which accesses this web feed, checks it for updates, and downloads any new files in the series.
Computer software, or simply software, is that part of a computer system that consists of encoded information or computer instructions, in contrast to the physical hardware from which the system is built.
This process can be automated so that new files are downloaded automatically, which may seem to the user as though new episodes are broadcast or "pushed" to them.
There are many different mobile applications available for people to use to subscribe and listen to podcasts.
Many of these applications allow users to download podcasts or stream them on demand as an alternative to downloading.
Many podcast players allow listeners to skip around the podcast and control the playback speed.
Some have labeled podcasting as a converged medium bringing together audio, the web, and portable media players, as well as a disruptive technology that has caused some people in the radio business to reconsider established practices and preconceptions about audiences, consumption, production, and distribution.
Podcasts are usually free of charge to listeners and can often be created for little to no cost, which sets them apart from the traditional model of "gate-kept" media and production tools.
Podcast creators can monetize their podcasts by allowing companies to purchase ad time, as well as via sites such a Patreon, which provides special extras and content to listeners for a fee.
It is very much a horizontal media form: producers are consumers, consumers may become producers, and both can engage in conversations with each other.