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Screencast, Photocast, Vidcast, Webcast, Skypecast, Textcast, Podcast: Differences explained

Screencasting, Webcasting, Photocasting, Podcasting, Vidcasting or Vodcasting, Skypecasting, Mobilecasting, Textcasting, Coursecasting, Blogcasting - these are all different forms of broadcasting digital content using basic hardware, software where you play the role of a actor, producer and the director. You create content on your computer and using RSS, broadcast it over the internet to be consumed by millions of people.

So let's put the techie jargon aside and try to understand these "complicated" terms in simple English so that you don't feel embarrased when someone mentions them in the next geek conference.

Podcasting - A podcast is just another mp3 file that you can play either on your computer or any portable device like the Apple iPod or Creative Zen. Podcasting refers to the entire process of creating the podcast [audio], editing and publishing to the web via RSS. Podcasting requires a microphone and audio editing software like Audacity or Adobe Audition. Mac users are lucky to have Garageband and iLife.

Autocasting - Autocast is like a cousin of podcast - the only difference being that the audio is not narrated by a human being but it has been generated automatically from the blog feed using a text to speech conversion engine. Talkr is one such Autocast service that converts the text inside RSS feeds to podcasts [mp3 files] for free.

Blogcasting - Barring a few search engines like Blinkx, most cannot index audio content. Therefore some podcasters attach a transcript of the podcast to their blog so that both human beings and search engines read [and index] what's there inside the podcast show. This is BlogCasting - blog + podcasting.

Voicecasting - VoiceCasting is the distribution of podcasts directly to a mobile phone, traditional phone, or VoIP phone. The audio is taken from a Podcast, and played back live to the listener. VoiceCasting is sometimes even referred as Phonecasting.

Mobilecasting - Like voicecasting, mobilecasting refers to downloading and listening to podcasts on cellphones. When we compare with voicecasting where the user dials a number to get the podcast,in Mobilecasting, the users subscribes to the podcast feed and automatically gets the content on his phone without making a separate request. For some, creating/recording podcasts using a mobile phone also falls under the mobilecasts umbrella. GCast is one such service that lets you record your podcast via a toll-free call from any phone.

Vodcasting - often used interchangeably with Vidcasting which essentially means creating and distributing video podcasts. Unlike Podcasting where you only require a microphone, for creating Vodcasts you need a video camera (preferably HD) and video editing software like Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere or Apple Final Cutpro. The video on demand {vod) content is distributed via RSS feeds. Associated terms are vlogs, vlogging, vodcasts and vcasts. Rocketboom and Diggination are popular vodcasts.

Learncasting - elearning via feeds - Learncasting is a category of podcasting or even vodcasting that aims deliver educational content. Stanford University professors are already putting their lectures on iTunes. Also know as podagogy.

Webcasting - The term webcasting is usually reserved for referring to non-interactive linear streams or live events like Product launches, stockholder meetings or reporting quarterly earnings. A webcast is similar to a broadcast TV show but designed for internet transmission. Webcast clients allow a user to connect to a server, which is distributing (webcasting) the webcast, and displays the televisual content to the user. Related: Desktop Screen Sharing.

Skypecasting In simple terms, Skypecasting means recording your Skype conversations, conference calls and interviews for inserting in podcasts. The person who does the recording is known as a SkypeCaster while the recorded audio is called a SkypeCast.

Photocasting is a new way of sharing photos accompanied by music or narrations. It's like sending your photo album to your friends and family, and having it change automatically on their computers when you update it on yours. When your grandmother subscribes to your photos [photocasts], she'll see them in her iPhoto library just as you see them in yours.

Screencasting According to Jon Udell, a screencast is a digital movie in which the setting is partly or wholly a computer screen, and in which audio narration describes the on-screen action. Capturing a screencast needn't be much more complicated that capturing static screenshots. Screencasts are excellent tools for learning how to use computers, and several podcasts have started to teach computer users how to use software through screencasts. Techsmith Camtasia Studio is pretty much the industry standard for creating screencasts.

TextCasting is just a day old term coined by Slate Magazine. Just like Blogcasting, Slate is looking to make text of some of its articles available for reading on the iPod. Lexus, which advertises on Slate podcasts, is sponsoring the textcast, with its logo appearing where the album art is usually shown and in a text ad within the story.

CourseCasting: Apple allows colleges to set up customized portions of the iTunes Music Store to distribute course content and other audio and video material. CourseCasting allows professors to record their lectures and make them available for students to download and listen to on their iPods or computers.

BlogCasting: Blogcast is just another Microsoft term to describe video podcasts for demonstrating software simulations like Screencasts. Microsoft refuses to accepts Podcasts since Pod is derived from Apple iPod which is Microsoft's rival. Members of the MSDN community produce blogcasts using Windows Media Encoder.

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