The personal blog of Sven Seebeck

The Podcast Client Dilemma

Today I have reached a peak-crisis Podcast client situation. I never would have thought that this is even possible. During the last 14 hours I used, settled with, committed to and dismissed thereafter four different podcast clients. Not once or twice, but trice.

I guess that after having reached a point of zen and being content with my choice of text-editors[^-361149400], Task-managers (OmniFocus, obviously) and blogging platforms (yay Ghost) I had to move on and obsess about another app-category. It was a while in the making but today the situation kind of got out of hand. So what happened?

For quite a while I was happily using It’s simple, easy to browse and find new content in and I can control it via voice commands. I listen to Podcasts most of the time when being either on the bike, driving a car or walking the dog, all situations during which it is very convenient to not to have to fiddle with the phone and rather tell it what to do.

That is all fine and good, but of course is sometimes a little cumbersome to use and I am convinced it had lost a few of my subscriptions[^-361149400]. Also missing is some sort of bookmarking/favouriting feature, which would make it rather easy to retrieve some episodes for whatever reason. From my experiences sync does work okay between iOS devices, but not so well to the desktop at the moment.

So I had been starting to have a look at all the other apps that I have been using before. Again! And this is where all the mess started.

I specifically was looking into Pocket Casts, Overcast and Instacast, all of which I have been using plenty before and like a lot. Here are some of the reasons which make the decision so annoyingly difficult:

  • syncing seems to work equally well in all three of them[^-361149400]. Playing position and played/unplayed states where syncronized as expected.
  • Pocket Casts and Overcast invite to explore new podcasts, especially Overcast’s recomendations are a great place to find something new
  • Pocket Casts on the other side has a very appealing interface and it is an overall nice experience using the app. I especially like the up next playlist creation and handling.
  • both Pocket Casts and Instacast support bulk editing, which I find especially useful when trying to catch up with a show’s back catalog. Overcast doesn’t seem to allow to mark all unplayed at the moment.
  • Pocket Casts and Instacast are supporting favouriting/bookmarking
  • Overcast and Pocket Casts are both very fast to refresh
  • Overcast has Smart Speed (which is really nice) and Voice Boost
  • none of them can support voice control

The list could go on a little more but these are the main points which make the decision difficult for me. Every time I use either of the apps, I miss at least one feature from any of the other apps and I am currently none the wiser.

Albeit being a pain in the arse it is, luckily so, thanks to OPML export, relatively easy to switch between the apps and give them a try. Which is what I will continue to do (by the time of this writing I use Pocket Casts) for a while I am afraid.

Should I ever come out of this dilemma I will let you know.

  1. More on that later, but I think you can guess already 

  2. I can be wrong on that one. 

  3. Syncing did work well in all of those apps. It should be noted that only Instacast has a dedicated desktop client, while Pocket Casts and Overcast feature a webplayer. 

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