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What is a podcast?
A podcast is a digital media file (usually an audio file but sometimes a video file) which is distributed over the Internet to everyone who has subscribed to that podcast "feed." Think of a podcast as similar to a radio program that is sent to you automatically each week, or however often the podcaster (the podcast author) creates a new episode.
Do I need special hardware?
Nearly every computer comes configured to play audio or video files. You can also load those files onto a portable music players like iPods (from which the term "podcast" is derived). But other portable music players can also be used.
Do I need special software?
Yes. Your best experience with podcasts is found when using an application designed to automatically download and categorize the various podcasts to which you are subscribed. There are several free programs you can use. iTunes is the most commonly used program of this type, Juice is another well known program. Both are available for Macintosh and PC computers.