RokuGuide Channel Description: The iTunes Podcast Roku channel provides access to all free podcasts in the iTunes library. You don't need iTunes installed on your computer to use this channel. It pulls podcasts directly from the iTunes library. And you don't even need an iTunes account.
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On launch, the iTunes Podcast channel offers the following options:
Favorites - From the video menu of any podcast, you can elect to mark the podcast as a favorite. After doing so, your favorites can be accessed from this location.
Top Podcasts - Under this category, you will find 100 "New & Noteworthy" podcasts. In addition, podcasts in the following categories are currently displayed: Celebrating Theater, NHL News, and Law & Order. These categories change; last December, Tis the Season and Holiday Cooking were included as categories.
Genres - These are same genres that you will find on the iTunes podcast website, although you won't find the podcasts broken down into subgenres. Under each of the 16 genres, in addition to "All Podcasts", are "New & Noteworthy" podcasts and "What's Hot" podcasts. Note that these are actually podcast series, under which you will find the individual podcasts episodes.
Providers - Here the podcasts are presented by content provider such as ABC News, Discovery Networks, and ESPN.
Search - If you're looking for a specific podcast or topic, search for it here.
Settings - There only two options. You can change the icon size between "default" and "large". There isn't a lot of difference here. On my TV, the default selection displays six podcast thumbnails per row at one time, while the "large" selection displays five. You can also select whether to show only audio podcasts, only, video podcasts, both, or whether to ask each time.
When you select a podcast, you have the option of add it to your "favorites", which can be accessed through the main menu as mentioned above. There is no option to link the Roku channel to your iTunes account, though, so the favorites that you select on the Roku will be available only on the Roku.
The picture quality of many of the video podcast series surprised me. I equate iTunes podcasts with video destined only for an iPod player. However, the HD videos stream in very good quality on TV screens as well.
Note that only free podcasts are available through this channel. Paid and other content, such as movies, music, and TV shows, still require you to use the iTunes app on your computer or mobile device.
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