Review: Using Amarok for Podcasts

I read online that VLC can play podcasts, which made me pretty excited.  However, then I began to realize after seriously hunting around that it cannot import OPML files????  What’s up with that?  As you may recall, I just wrote the other day in “gPodder Review (Now That iTunes Is Stupid-er)“:

Any program worth an ounce of salt can export and import XML subscriptions, after all.

D’oh!

I then learned that Amarok can import OPML files, so I downloaded Amarok and tried it out.  Because it is a KDE application, I downloaded it through the Ubuntu Software Center to make sure there weren’t any compatibility issues.

The short of it is: It is better than gPodder, but it’s still no iTunes.

I was able to import podcasts just fine.  It’s nice that you can even listen to the podcasts and have them automatically marked as listened to.  However, it only plays the audio on video podcasts.  It sort of makes you wonder what the point is.

I did not try the Windows version because of that, but you can create playlists, export them to Dropbox, and they will play either with VLC or Windows Media Player just fine.  Obviously, that won’t mark them as listened to, so that’s sort of a bummer.  Of course, you can also play them with VLC on Ubuntu, so you can view the video that way.

It’s not as buggy as gPodder on Windows is, but I have managed to hang it three times.  Unfortunately, you can only kill the main application.  It creates a tray icon in the notification area, and the only way to clear it after a crash is to restart the machine.  That’s a major minus, IMO.

I’m seriously wondering if there is a way to hack VLC to accept entries from some type of OPML or even a text file.  There are commandline arguments for it, after all.  I just don’t know if it will track what’s been played and what’s not, nor where it keeps that data.

So, what?  Maybe 3.5 stars for Amarok?  I cannot give it more because of the system hang.

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