The Apple-inspired medium of podcasting is probably here to stay, so it seems odd that Apple would treat podcasting as a second cousin in iTunes. If you’ve used Downcast for iPhone, then you’ll appreciate Downcast for the Mac. With just one major exception, the Downcast app is a good way to experience podcasting the way it was meant to be managed.
Downcast makes it simple to search, find, download, and subscribe to both audio and video podcasts on your Mac, bypassing the afterthought podcasting features in iTunes. All the basic features you’d expect are included– smart playlists, podcast details and show notes, automatic downloads of current and older episodes, import of OPML files, even handling password-protected feeds.
This is what did it for me. Downcast for Mac uses iCloud to sync podcast subscriptions, playlists, settings and episode information with other Macs and iOS devices.
The interface is straightforward an not intimidating, and it takes just a minute to install and begin downloading podcasts.
That said, I have a couple of issues. This is a look at a version 1.0 Downcast, and while I expect it to improve and add features over time, this first version is a bit buggy and seems crash happy.
Second, the Downcast app for iPhone and iPad is $2.99, which is mostly throwaway money, hence no trial version. The Mac version is priced at $9.99 and there’s no trial version, so there’s no recourse if the app doesn’t suit your expectations or needs. My threshold for trying by buying is about $2.99, maybe $4.99 if the app is well regarded.
In the case of Downcast, Mac users are treated as second class citizens, paying three times as much for an app that does much the same as the iPhone counterpart.