I decided to put this together because I was kind of tired of all of the questions I was getting from friends and family regarding podcasts and figured I should just sum everything up at once.
- Podcasts are not the progeny of Apple
- The name, admittedly, seems to imply an association with the company, but that's simply not true. What is true is that Apple realized the "power" of podcasts and decided to capitalize on the correlation that end-users would no doubt make between iPods and this not-so-new content-delivery system. Apple saw the opportunity to be the first "big" name to get behind podcasts and made a smart move — the rest is history.
- Podcasts are not limited to the iPod (or iTunes)
- Because podcasts have nothing to do with iPods or iTunes, there is no technical reason why podcasts can't work with other devices and aggregators (iTunes' role in all of this).
- Podcasts are not required to use a specific codec
- A podcast can use any format. For the most part, [unprotected] MP3 is the codec of choice, but other formats work just as well (ATRAC, AAC, etc.) Also keep in mind that podcasts are not limited to just audio; there are plenty of video podcasts (or "vidcasts" or whatever you want to call them) floating around out there.
- Podcasts do not require an aggregator
- Podcasts are simply RSS feeds that link to a file that contains "new" content. As long as you have the link you can download the file. Granted, without the RSS enclosure pointing to the content it's not really a "podcast," but rather just another file on the Internet.