iTunes Podcast FAIL

So, I'm not sure if this is the fault of Apple's iTunes or the makers of all the news podcasts, but I'm sure each are at least partially to blame. You see, last night President Obama spoke and I want to watch it on the train to work tomorrow.

First, let me say that when the debates and the inagauration took place, I had no problem finding video of it later in the day or the next morning on iTunes' Podcast area. In fact, on a couple, I already had the feed on my iTunes and it just started coming in. But now, 24 hours after Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress, I can't find a video version to easily load onto my iPod.

iTunes is definitely to blame on at least one count. The browsing of the iTunes Podcast area is abysmal at best and unusable at worst. You can find the top things and the ones featured, but you've got no good ways to browse other things. And don't think the search box is going to help you much, because every time you type in a search it searches the whole iTunes Store and you get all this other crap until you click to say, "I want only podcasts, you stupid program! That's why I was browsing in the Podcasts section!" Even then, searching for "Obama address Congress" in the search box give you nothing but one radio station's commentary on it. If you broaden it to "Obama address" you get a couple top podcasts that do feature Obama giving an address, but this gets me to my next point.

First, Barack Obama's White House administration does have their own podcast, and the weekly radio address is well-presented via this podcast in both video or audio formats. I definitely am subscribed to this podcast, although I recommend doing your research afterwords through other news sources, because even if he's the President, you can't really take his word on everything. Second, ABC News offers the next best thing: a podcast with the exact same stuff that they host and deliver. I like that they did put the address in audio form in their audio version of the podcast, but I want video! Their video version of the weekly address podcast has no such item. For the debates, other podcasts such as Anderson Cooper 360 also put the videos in their podcast feed, but none of them are offering it up this time.

The web-savvy crowd at my blog may say, "But Dan, it's an hour long! That's a big file and that's lots of badwidth!" Yeah, you're right, but that didn't stop them for the Inaguration address or any of the debates. In fact, the debates were longer but they were done in great video quality that was easy to load on your iPhone. Plus, if you want, throw an advertisement or two in there, I'll watch it if it's interesting or is only 30 seconds long. Then, there's the others who will say, "Dan, I already watched all of it on Hulu." Yeah, I know, but I can't load that video into my iPhone for my daily commute. Then, as TJ said, I could try loading it up via YouTube on my iPhone, but I like being able to see Obama if I'm going to watch the video, and the only that the YouTube video quality on the iPhone is good for is videos of a cat on the Roomba. Plus, when I hit the tunnel under the airport then the streaming video will just stop playing, probably, and that's no fun.

Hopefully, in the next couple hours, a solution will appear. If they do, don't let any tech person from the major network that put it out say it takes over a day to encode a video for the iPod, because it doesn't. Otherwise, I may just have to stay uninformed for the rest of my life. Or, worse yet, I'll have to read a transcript.

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