Scratching an itch

enthusiastic emoticon

So I got myself a new phone. One thing led into another, and I tried to get back into listening to podcasts. This met with two problems:

  • I don’t know any podcasts distributed as such which are worth listening to, so most of the feeds available in major listings do not ring a bell at all.1
  • Most of the things I already listen to or watch are actually distributed as Youtube channels. Youtube keeps a fairly tight lock on what you can watch the videos with, and Android podcatchers are not on the list. Even those that can handle them at all can’t download the videos for later offline viewing.

While there are solutions to the latter problem, they are all Windows applications with a GUI, and I’ve been trying to avoid Windows,2 not to mention avoid running a GUI application for what is essentially a server job.

Well, here is my solution: ytpod.

This is a very simple command line program that accepts a youtube channel RSS feed, downloads the videos in it, and drops them into files together with an rss.xml that describes them as a proper podcast feed. You can then serve these with your web server and give the URL to your podcatcher. Verified with Pocket Casts and works, but should likewise work fine with iTunes and anything else that obeys standards and can handle a sufficient variety of mp4/webm files.

Not bad for a few hours work. It should also be applicable to transmuting your own YouTube channel into a podcast and hosting files off something like Amazon, so it can be conveniently used to provide your listeners with a podcast when you use YouTube as your primary hosting service.

  1. Care to recommend any? ↩︎

  2. With recent developments, you’d be advised to as well. ↩︎