You may recall that one of my stipulations for this little experiment was that I would not sync my iPhone with my computer – Only apps and media which could be added wirelessly to the phone would count. This led to a problem early on when I needed something to listen to. My first resolution to this issue was to install the TWiT app and listen to the live audio stream from the This Week in Tech podcast network. What happens, though, when the live stream gives me nothing but silence?
Enter the RSS Player app. This app, which runs for $2.99 in the App Store, will do what the iPhone’s media player will not – wirelessly download and play podcast files, both audio and video. The wireless downloads can occur over wi-fi or 3G mobile broadband, which means I can download the latest TWiT ( or any other) podcast episodes while listening to an episode in my car, at the office, or at home.
Here’s how the app works: When you first start the app, you have nothing to listen to or watch. All you need to do, though, is head over to the Search section. You can then search for your favorite podcast by name. If it doesn’t come up in the search results, you also have the option to subscribe by inputing the RSS fees of the podcast. For example, I went to the Drum Corps International website on my iPhone’s browser, found the link to the DCI Field Pass podcast’s RSS feed, copied it to the iPhone’s clipboard, and pasted it in RSS Player. I am mow subscribed to the podcast and can either stream each episode online or download it to my iPhone to listen to whenever I wish. I can also set RSS Player to download new episodes automatically when they are made available or manually when I choose.
The media player in RSS Player works similarly to iTunes, with the podcast’s album art displayed on the screen. You can select which episode to play or use one of the built-in playlists to order your podcast playing. The only downside for me is that you can’t leave the app while listening to podcasts, but that is due to Apple’s refusal to allow mutitasking on the iPhone.
Personally, this is one of the best apps I’ve purchased. I’m a big podcast listener and want to have my podcast’s available to me whenever I want. Sure, I could plug into my computer every night after work and sync up, but I want to avoid getting tied down by cords as much as possible. At some point, I’ll probably sync my iPhone to get some of my music library on here, but I have an iPod Classic for that, and it holds everything in my library at this point. For me, RSS Player is the way to go.