Listen to your favorite podcasts with Kodkast, an open source and minimalistic player
Podcasts are a great form of entertainment, and some are even educative. A few media players allow you to listen to podcasts, but the experience isn't quite the same as using a dedicated application.
Kodkast is an open source podcast player that has a minimalistic interface.
The GUI is oblong, and cannot be resized or maximized. The large pane is your Library, and lists your podcast subscriptions. Click on the "Add a Podcast" button, or use the hotkey Ctrl + A, to subscribe to a channel.
You may paste a podcast's feed link in the Add by URL button, and click on the Add button to its right. If you want to discover podcasts, hit the iTunes Top 100 button, and Kodkast will fetch the list of popular podcasts, you can select the one you wish to subscribe to.
Note: Kodkast depends on VLC, if the media player is not installed on your computer, the podcast software will throw an error and won't launch. VLC does not need to run in the background for Kodkast to work, the latter just depends on the media player's Python bindings.
You may find podcasts using the built-in search tool, which pulls the results from iTunes. The search is a bit slow, but give it a few seconds, and it works. Since Kodkast's window can't be resized, it is a bit difficult to use when searching for podcasts, as the channel names and episode titles are semi-hidden. To unsubscribe from a podcast, right-click on it and click on Remove.
Kodkast lists the search results in the Library pane, with the thumbnail and name of each channel.
Right-click on a podcast, select "About", which is the only option available, and KodKast will display the channel's information page. To go back to the results click the back button in the top left corner of the screen. Use the seekbar to jump to a specific point in the track's timeline.
The buttons below it are for controlling the playback; the options includepPlay, pause, fast-forward,Â and rewind.Â Change the audio's speed by 0.5x up to 2 times the speed, by clicking the button at the bottom.Â Oddly, the program doesn't have a volume control slider.
Kodkast is written in Python. It is not a portable software.
Why do I need KodKast and VLC, while I can just use the latter? You can add podcasts in VLC using the feed's URL, which you have to obtain manually. Kodkast on the other hand supports a handy search option that looks up feeds via iTunes, which is more convenient.
These may not be deal-breakers for most people, but I think there are a few downsides in Kodkast. You cannot download episodes using the application if you prefer listening to the audio offline. Another drawback is that you cannot use Kodkast to import or export your feeds from an OPML file, e.g. I use AntennaPod on my Android phone and gPodder/Podstation on my PC, to import and export my feeds between the devices, and this isn't possible with Kodkast. The episode description isn't displayed in the list, or while playing it.
I don't want to be harsh on Kodkast, because this is the first stable release of the program. I had absolutely no issues listening to my favorite episodes using the application, it can resume the playback from where you left off, as long as you click on the right episode. The iTunes search option is good, and something that I use on AntennaPod and Podstation, as it's a great way to discover new podcasts.
Too many negatives, in terms of UI (“oblong, and cannot be resized or maximized”), dependencies and features. No thanks.
I’m Ricky, the creator of Kodkast. The reason for the UI being fixed is because I wanted it to mimic the experience of using a podcast player on a phone, and also because enlarging it would only stretch out the UI elements, which I did not feel would be beneficial.
I’m open to suggestions. Like Ashwin mentioned in his review, this is the first stable release of Kodkast and I have many plans on improving it. What features would you need to see to make you switch to using Kodkast as your main podcast player on the desktop?
Thank you for your input,
Hi Ricky, not Jack but thanks for your app. Haven’t tried it yet myself but plan to check it out. Having read the article above however, a good start might be to address all the points raised by the writer.
“The reason for the UI being fixed is because I wanted it to mimic the experience of using a podcast player on a phone, and also because enlarging it would only stretch out the UI elements, which I did not feel would be beneficial.”
Sorry, but I’m honestly sick and tired of people pushing smartphone apps and UI paradigms onto desktops. When I have a big-ass monitor (two, in fact) in front of me, why would I not want to see the channel names, episode titles etc. in their entirety? It’s clearly not impossible to scale/rearrange the UI to best make use of more screen estate – so many desktop apps manage to do it after all.
Further comments reserved till I review the app myself, but I do hope you’ll treat this all as constructive criticism. Cheers!
Thanks for that feedback, Anon. I completely understand that. I will look into ways to improve the design to better make use of the large screen space afforded by computers over smartphones.