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Tired of overly complicated Android podcatchers? Try AntennaPod. This open source app includes all the features you love and none of the crap you don’t.
If you don’t listen to podcasts, you should. Some more conversational shows feel like overhearing a conversation between friends, while others present you valuable information. Explore long enough and you’re bound to find shows you like.
Apps like Stitcher try to turn podcasting into a Pandora-like radio station, automatically playing shows you might find interesting. But what if you just want a more traditional podcatcher, that regularly downloads the shows you love so you can listen to them on your own time?
Try AntennaPod. This program downloads your shows and lets you listen to them in whatever order you like. Even better: it’s free and doesn’t include any ads.
Start up AntennaPod and you’ll see the podcasts you’ve already added:
We’ll talk about adding shows later, for now let’s focus on playback. From this screen you can tap a show to see a list of episodes. Because I love the sound of my own voice, I’m browsing Technophilia. Note you can also use this to browse good shows.
Tap an episode to read the description, or the arrow to the right to see the following options:
Note that new episodes can also be downloaded automatically, but you’ll need to first enable this in the settings. Once you’ve downloaded files you can send them to the queue:
Episodes in the queue will play consecutively, which is perfect if you want to relax and listen to a bunch of shows in a row. I recommend doing so.
AntennaPod runs in the background, meaning you can multitask while you’re listening to podcsts. While doing so, you can control AntennaPod from Android’s notifications area or using the included widget:
It’s also worth noting that AntennaPod isn’t limited to playing audio podcasts: video also works. Advanced podcast features like chapters and varied speed playback is also included, so be sure to explore the settings to really get everything you can out of this program.
Adding Shows To AntennaPod
Worried adding your shows to this new program will be complicated? Don’t be. If you’ve got an OPML file – most podcatchers support exporting to one – you can easily import everything. And if not, it’s simple to add shows:
You can enter every URL by hand, or use the search tool. The search is powered by Miro Guide, so odds are your show is listed there. (Miro is the best cross-platform podcatcher for desktop users, but the guide created for this program is integrated into a surprising number of other projects because of its openness and relative completion). Just hit the search button from the add screen and you should find whatever you’re looking for.
Or, if you prefer browsing for new shows, you can look through the Miro Guide directly:
Just pick a category and you’ll see the most popular shows in it. Here’s Science, for example:
You can’t keep scrolling through a category, however: you’ll only see the highest-rated and most popular shows. It’s annoying, but there are other places to find podcasts. Saikat outlined five podcast directories, use them to find shows then add them to AntennaPod using search or by pasting in the URL.
Other Android Podcatchers
Of course, if AntennaPod isn’t right for you, there are other apps to check out. Chris outlined the top six podcast apps for Android, if you need a place to begin. Most of these apps are similar in terms of features, but all are either not free or include ads. To me, this makes the open source AntennaPad the best app for the job.
What’s your favorite Android tool for downloading and listening to podcasts? And while you’re at it, what are your favorite shows? Share everything in the comments below.