Newsnight as you go

Last week while I was browsing around iTunes Music Store, looking for new podcast to subscribe to, I decided to see how many new BBC podcasts had been added to iTunes since I last looked. So I typed in "BBC" in the search box and the list was pretty long. As I read down the list, I spotted the Newsnight video podcast. It is a short excerpt of the week's footage so it is a nice way to get the best digest of the program.

I didn't manage to watch the three episodes until late last night and a couple of minutes into the first one, I wondered what file format BBC is encoding the podcast. A quick check in iTunes showed that it is just plain mp4 video, and I then wondered further whether my Nokia E61 will play it.

So I dug out the USB data cable and connected the phone up. The memory card showed up as a disk on my Mac desktop and I just dragged the file into the disk. A few minutes later I had it on my phone and RealPlayer was playing the podcast in its fullscreen glory! The video quality is pretty good. I didn't notice any dropped frames and the sound from the speaker is adequate for a talking head program. Battery life, of course, suffers when you play video on the phone but that is to be expected.

Anyway, after that it was just a matter of entering the long URL for the podcast into the Nokia Podcasting app on the phone. Soon it was download the latest episode onto the phone via the Wi-Fi connection. This is especially cool for me because I can't play video on my 4G iPod (obviously) and I am waiting for the next generation before upgrading. Being able to play video on my phone means I have less of an excuse to buy the 6G iPod when it comes out.

So now I have even more content to keep me occupied as when I am stuck in a subway train. One thing still annoys me though. Why can't all audio and video podcasts on iTunes uses non-DRM, non-proprietary format like BBC. How about that Apple? Can I have iTunes New Music Tuesday in regular mp4 audio format, may be as an alternative to the special one you've been using? I don't care for the album arts and chapters, I just want to listen to the podcast on my phone!

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