What is it?
The word podcasting was originally shorthand for of iPod Broadcasting, but it has since taken on a much broader meaning, and is no longer reserved for iPods. It is a means to automatically deliver a regularly updated series of files to a user's computer. For example, you can subscribe to a Weather channel feed, and automatically get the latest forecast on your computer.
Podcast services are now readily available for most any interest: special radio programs, movie reviews, updated news, etc. With Media Center you can now subscribe to such podcasts and have them automatically downloaded to your computer whenever they are updated.
Media Center provides a list of popular podcasts, and allows streaming or downloading of any podcast found on the web.
How does it work?
Selecting Podcasts in the tree opens a webpage where you can subscribe to an available podcast by clicking on the green Subscribe to Feed button. You can also follow links to popular podcast directories or search using the Google search bar.
Expanding Podcasts in the tree displays one item showing all the podcast files (we call them episodes) you have downloaded, and an additional item for each of your podcast subscriptions. After selecting one of these items you can listen to the episodes within (by double-clicking the name) or download them (by selecting the download link in the Episode Status column).
Clicking the Add Default Feeds button will download the current list of default feeds from J. River's server, and subscribe to those you are not already subscribed to (so you can click this button often if you wish).
OPML files (generated by iTunes and elsewhere) are lists of feeds. Double clicking on an opml file in Windows Explorer will subscribe to all feeds in it. You must have the Podcast file associations select (in Tools->Options->File Associations).
Episodes exist in a variety of states: they can be in the feed, but not downloaded; in the feed and downloading; in the feed and already downloaded. In addition there are two special states: not in feed and orphan. An episode is not in feed when it was previously in a feed, downloaded, and then the author of the feed removed it. An orphan episode is an episode that was downloaded, but the feed to which it belongs is no longer in the library.