What is now called a podcast traces its orgins to thefirst ipod podcasts, the creation of distributed mp3 filesthat could be downloaded and played on Apple’s musicplayer, the iPod. When the iPod came out, and usersdiscovered what a wonderful thing it was for holdingmusic, some people had the idea of loading things thatweren’t necessarily songs. Some of the people that gottheir hands on the iPod took the route of reverseengineering the iPod and loading on different firmware,or operating system, but others had the idea of sharingsmall sound files that could be played on the iPod. Thetechnology for distributing the files already existed,with RSS feeds. RSS feeds were a means of generatingmachine readable files that could share informationbetween a server and a user. Many blogs already used them to keep readers up to date with the latest posts, butsome hopeful podcasters had the idea of enclosing linksto sound files within the RSS feed and downloading the file to the computer.
With the change in RSS feeds, ipod podcast took off,and podcasting became a popular way to share files. Users saw podcasting as a way to become radio hosts,or dj’s, and a variety of podcasts began popping up. Software was written to automatically check the RSS feeds, extract the links to the podcast episodes, and download the files. These programs became known aspodcast clients.
By this time, podcasting had moved beyond the ipod,and they were not simply making an ipod podcast anymore. Some people had figured out how to use eventhe PlayStation Portable gaming console as a podcastplayer. It was more difficult that downloading podcasts to the ipod, since the PSP used a different format for its files, but PSP podcasts began popping up. In addition,podcasting made inroads to the wider audience ofpeople without iPods, who simply saw podcasting as anextremely convenient way to receive news, music, andentertainment over the internet.
Today, while the iPod podcast type still exists, fewer people subscribe to podcasts as a way of gaining portable media files they can listen to anywhere.Although that is still an attractive part of podcasting, itseems to be eclipsed by the ease with which podcasting has become a content delivery system. Now, podcastinghas become tied up with the rising number of audio andvideo blogs, where blogging is done not by post, butthrough media files uploaded to the blog. These blogs,and podcasting in general, take advantage of theshrinking cost of broadband internet connections, and the rising number of people with high speed access to offer a picture of the internet rich with multimedia files.