Mainstream media is under attack by internet-based technology. TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines all face declining audiences and readership because so much information is available online.
The iPod and iPhone have changed how we listen to music. The Podcast has changed how we gather audio and video information. RSS readers have changed how we navigate hundreds of web sites. What’s left?
Broadcasting Goes Online
It’s my humble opinion that what we know of broadcasting is undergoing a dramatic change and we Mac users can help it along to our benefit using a blend of old and new technology.
RSS information feeds for web sites have been around for years.
If you’re not using an RSS reader to scour your daily web sites, then get one. NetNewsWire is highly recommended and free. You’ll never browse the same way again.
Hulu has started to change (and charge) how we consumers consume traditional broadcast content by streaming television shows direct to our Macs and PCs and iPhones and iPods.
In between the web site RSS feeds and Hulu lurks a whole world of RSS and ‘casting content. Podcasts. Videocasts. Torrentcasts. Automatic is the app that takes you to that new world.
Automatically Receive Shows Via Automatic
RSS feeds can be subscribed to by RSS readers. So can the content which is linked in the RSS feeds. Automatic brings it to you using a new term—broadcatching; particularly TV subscriptions.
Automatic is the Mac app that takes the RSS feeds, grabs the subscription link, and downloads the shows—podcasts, videocasts, even torrentcasts—to your Mac’s download folder. It’s easy using presets and a torrent app. For example, for television shows, find the show listing, and click the Add button in Automatic. That’s it.
New episodes will download. Or, set Automatic to download previous versions.
Automatic is simple to set up and use and mostly hides in the background, checking for new content occasionally. The presets give you quick access to over 200 television shows.
Get your geek on with notifications, custom private feeds, or even a set of rules for downloads. Automatic has an activity pane so you can monitor content downloads in real time. The log tells you what’s been added. Torrentcasts may require access to a bittorrent utility such as Transmission.
Automatic is not as friendly or full of eye candy like what you’ll find in the Hulu app. Broadcatching is a somewhat different world. Automatic is a Preference Pane which resides in your Mac’s System Preferences. You control set up and broadcatching functions there.
Once you’ve selected a few television shows or content feeds to retrieve, click the Start button. Automatic takes care of the rest, finds the show, downloads to your Mac and opens your default torrent app, which begins to download the file.
The reason that Automatic does a set it and forget routine is because torrent files may take awhile to download. File quality and type may vary, too, necessitating a player other than Apple’s QuickTime.
Is all this broadcatching legal? Yes. And no. And, it depends. Legally downloading content all depends on the content owner, of course. It’s my view that much of what is downloaded using torrent clients and add-ons such as Automatic is not legal and definitely breaks copyright laws. Other content, such as podcasts may be freely distributed, even using torrent apps.
Regardless, Automatic makes the whole process—legal or otherwise—well, automatic, provided you can work through the somewhat confusing set up of a Mac torrent app and select content that is both worthy and legal.