Podcast and Audiobook support

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New in version 1.41 of ml_iPod is podcasting and audiobook support (in v2.00 the podcast handling was improved and is using the special "Podcasts" menu on the iPod now).

Contents

How does a track become an audiobook or podcast?

There are two mechanisms that we use to mark a specific track as audiobook or podcast:

Audiobooks

Audiobooks are distinguished only by genre. It's up to you to have all your audiobooks tagged with the right genres. You can edit in the preferences which genres should be regarded as audiobooks, any number of genres is possible:

Speech preferences

If you use *.m4b audiobooks, make sure that the extension is entered in the options of Winamp, as described here.

Podcast

Podcast handling takes a different approach: You define a special directory in the preferences, and everything below that directory is tagged as 'Podcast' automatically at the beginning of a podcast sync. All the files have the 'Podcast' genre then. This genre name can be changed in the prefs (not recommended), but only one genre is possible for podcasts.

All tracks that are marked as audiobooks or podcasts are skipped when you use the "Shuffle Songs" feature on the iPod. Additionally they remember their playback position (this is called "bookmarkable" on the iPod). So if you come back to an audiobook after listening to some songs, you start listening exactly where you left.

Unfortunately, audiobooks will not show up in the "Audiobooks" menu on the iPod. This is due to some limitation in the iPod firmware. The iPod only puts tracks with *.aa or *.m4b extension into the "Audiobooks" menu. Even if we mark a track as "being an audiobook", it will still not show up there. Nothing we can do about that, sorry. Luckily, the menu can be remedied via Smart Playlists, see below. UPDATE: With 2.04p09, this limitation was fixed for the iPod nano. All audiobooks, even *.mp3, should show up in the Audiobooks menu now, if they are tagged with the right genre. Unfortunately this seems to work on the nano only.

Some example queries for smart playlists on the iPod

A smart playlist that shows all audiobooks (depends on your personal genres):

 genre BEGINS Speech OR genre = Audiobook OR genre BEGINS Spoken

A smart playlist that shows all unplayed podcasts that have not been rated (makes sense with LIVE updating only):

genre = Podcast AND ! playcount >= 1 and ! rating >= 1 

Tips for using podcasting support:

  • Download your podcasts to a specific directory hierarchy on your computer.
  • Setup this download folder as a watch folder in the Media Library preferences to make sure that downloaded episodes show up in Winamp automatically.
  • Tell ml_iPod about this directory on the config page (Preferences -> iPod support -> Speech tab -> Top folder for podcasts)
  • Connect your iPod and switch to the iPod page in the Media Library
  • Click on "Sync podcasts" button
    • All files in the top folder for podcasts and in any folder below that are automatically tagged with genre “Podcast” now
    • All new podcast episodes are transferred to the iPod then
  • After you have listened to an episode on the iPod, the playcount is automatically increased by the iPod (only if you listen to the end, unlike Winamp's behavior)
  • During the next Sync podcasts", this episode will be automatically removed from the iPod
    • The removal of podcasts during syncs can be disabled in ml_iPod's preferences by unchecking "Remove played podcasts from iPod during podcast sync"
  • To manually mark podcasts for removal during the next sync, you must enable "Remove podcasts with rating >= 1 from iPod during podcast sync" and then when listening to the podcast on the iPod, rate the podcast from 1-5. This is useful for those podcasts that just don't catch your attention and you want to skip over.
    • If you have enabled chapter marking for audiobooks/podcasts the rating feature on the iPod may be disabled and you will need to remove podcasts manually.

Video Podcasts

If you want to use video podcasts, there are a couple of prerequisites.

The most important one: Your video podcast must provide the videos as *.m4v or *.mp4 files. Some podcasts are delivered as QuickTime (*.mov), this is not supported with ml_iPod.

Next, make sure you have setup Winamp correctly for m4v videos.

Now, video podcasts should work exactly the same way as audio podcasts.

Podcasts and iTunes

Warning: The ml_ipod podcast handling is not compatible to what iTunes does. At the moment, it is not possible to handle podcasts in iTunes, download them to the iPod, and later manage your music on the iPod with ml_iPod. The iTunes loaded podcast lists will be destroyed in this process. Sorry, but these are the limits...

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