The tech world is obsessed with mobile apps and web-based software, but the reality is that many people — if not most people! — still use Windows most of the time. If you want to listen to podcasts while at your Windows PC, the best option is still a Windows desktop application that will play them for you. With these programs, you can listen to the MakeUseOf podcast and all your other favorite podcasts.
As with many things in life, there’s no one best podcast manager for everyone. If you have an iPod you want to sync your podcasts to, you’ll want iTunes. If you don’t have an iPod and don’t like how slow and heavy iTunes is, you’ll want another application instead. We’ve rounded up the best options here so you can find the best podcast manager for you.
No round-up of Windows podcast management programs would be complete without the media manager iTunes. It’s the most popular podcast manager for Windows, but that isn’t because iTunes is a well-loved application. No, many people — especially Windows users — believe iTunes is past its prime and has become too bloated and slow. If all you want is an application to download and listen to podcasts, iTunes will definitely be overkill. However, if you want to start listening to podcasts on your iPod or already use iTunes, it may be the best option.
To subscribe to a podcast in iTunes, open the Store, select Podcasts, and search for your favorite podcast. Click the Subscribe button on the podcast and you’ll find new podcast episodes on the Podcasts section of your library.
Miro is a free and open-source media player that’s built for subscriptions. Whatever you want to subscribe to — an audio podcast, video podcast, or even a BitTorrent feed — Miro can do it. Miro is a solid, easy-to-use application, although it’s a bit overkill for simple audio podcasts. If you subscribe to video podcasts, you may like the integrated video features.
When installing Miro, be sure to uncheck the additional software that it tries to push on you. Miro’s installer seems to have become pushier over time.
There’s a good chance you already use VLC to watch videos and maybe even play music. But did you know that VLC has an integrated podcast-subscribing feature, among its other many hidden features?
To access this feature, open VLC, click the View menu, and select Playlist. Click the Internet dropdown menu, hover over Podcasts, and click the + button. You’ll be able to subscribe to a podcast by copy-pasting its URL into the window. You can now double-click an episode in the right pane to play it.
VLC isn’t the most user-friendly option for listening to podcasts — there’s no integrated search feature and VLC can’t automatically download new episodes so they’re cached offline. VLC just streams the episodes when you start playing them. Still, if you’re looking for something lightweight and don’t mind the limitations, this is a very good option — especially considering you probably already have VLC installed.
Juice stands out because it does so little. Unlock all the other options above, Juice doesn’t offer a million different features. It’s a simple, purpose-built option for subscribing to and automatically downloading podcasts. It doesn’t even have an integrated audio player — you’ll have to play your episodes in an external media player, although Juice can launch that player for you.
If you want a simple, lightweight, old-school application for managing your podcasts, give Juice a try.
So far, we’ve covered a mix of heavy media players with podcast features — iTunes and Miro — and feature-light podcast managers — VLC and Juice. Clementine sits at a sweet spot in between, offering a feature-rich media player that somehow feels lightweight instead of bogged down and heavy.
Clementine isn’t designed just for listening to podcasts, it’s a full local media player with a music library and other features. Subscribing to a podcast in Clementine is as simple as clicking the Music menu, selecting Add Podcast, and then entering the podcast’s address or searching for it. The podcast will then appear on the Internet tab, where you can listen to it.
Which Windows Podcast Manager Is The Best?
Well, that depends on the combination of features you prefer — many people prefer iTunes for its integration with iPods and other Apple devices, while other Windows users would flock to VLC for its minimal, lightweight approach to podcasts. Still other users would choose Clementine, which is lightweight but more full-featured, with integrated search features.
People who are particularly into video podcasts might prefer Miro and its interface that seems more designed for videos. And don’t forget that Spotify hosts tons of great podcasts as well.
Image Credit: William Brawley on Flickr
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