A podcast is an audio (or sometimes video) broadcast that you can download via the Internet and subscribe to so your computer automatically downloads all new episodes served up by that podcaster. You can listen to it on your computer or download it to a portable media player. Lots of podcasts are homemade, put together on a home PC and loaded up to a server for distribution. Many bloggers now produce their own podcasts. Some podcasts are professional-grade recordings put out by organizations like HowStuffWorks.com, Discovery Channel, NPR, PBS and The Onion. See How Podcasting Works to learn more.
You can subscribe to a podcast directly through iTunes. Just click "Subscribe to Podcast" and type the podcast's URL in the dialog box that pops up. You'll automatically receive all new podcasts from that broadcaster.
Even if you never make a single purchase from the iTunes Store, you can still take advantage of the basic functions of iTunes. iTunes offers all of the features we've come to expect from a high-level jukebox media player:
- Audio-file playback: iTunes supports AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3, WAV, Audible.com's .aa format and unprotected WMA audio formats.
- Streaming music: You can open a stream in iTunes just by entering the URL in the "Open Stream" dialog box.
- Internet radio: You can set Internet radio presets.
- Graphics: You can view audio-coordinated graphics on-screen and print jewel-case art for your burned CDs.
- CD track information: iTunes automatically displays all available CD information when you insert a disc into the drive. You can also edit the information if it's incomplete or wrong.
- Organization and management tools: iTunes offers automatic and manual management options for your library.
- File-type conversion: iTunes will convert your AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3, WAV or unprotected WMA files to AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3 or WAV format.
- Playlist creation
- Burning and ripping CDs
- Downloading files to a portable player
- Sharing music over a network