There are two podcatchers which seem to command a lot of loyalty, Instacast and Downcast. I started out with Instacast and then migrated to Downcast about a year ago. A few months ago, Instacast released a Mac client that brought me back into the fold. I decided to wait awhile before writing about it to first make sure that the switch would stick. It did.
The Instacast user interface has improved since the last time I used it. A lot. The interface on both the Mac and iOS clients gives you a list of podcasts you’ve subscribed to and episodes available for download. The settings let you determine exactly what to do with each podcast you subscribe to. Some may only download the latest episode and others may download all unplayed podcasts. It’s up to you. (You can even download episodes over a cell network, which is really handy about 10 minutes before boarding a plane.)
In addition to the standard view, you can also create lists and smart lists. I use several smart lists including Partially Played (to help me finish shows I paused) and Most Recent.
The big reason for my switch was the release of the Mac app and the ability sync podcasts. I spend a lot of time behind a Mac. The Mac, iPad, and iPhone sync flawlessly. I can now listen to a show while at my Mac and pick up later in my car from my iPhone exactly where I left off on my Mac. Instacast doesn’t just sync listening position. If you delete an episode entirely, that also syncs between the devices. I like to clear out my feeds as much as possible and I particularly appreciate this feature.
With the switch back to Instacast, I didn’t find many WTF moments. Every thing works as I’d expect it to and I’m happy with the switch. There are rumblings that Downcast will get it’s own Mac app and I’ll probably be checking it out. Honestly though, I have all the features I need from a podcatcher and I don’t see a big reason for moving again.