Using BBC iPlayer, you can 'listen again' online to almost all BBC radio programmes broadcast in the last seven days. Additionally, a range of radio programmes are also available to download as podcasts.
So, what's the difference between 'downloading', 'podcasting' and the BBC iPlayer 'listen again' service?
When you 'listen again' to a radio programme in BBC iPlayer, the audio you are hearing is not saved on your computer but is 'streamed' to you instead. You are simply listening to it as the sound is being delivered to you from the BBC, like you would a normal live radio broadcast. You must be connected to the internet in order to listen again and once you stop listening there is nothing saved on your computer. After seven days, radio programmes disappear from BBC iPlayer, so you can no longer listen again to them.
To 'download', on the other hand, means to save a file (which could be anything - a photo, video, music file, etc) from the internet onto your computer. When the download is complete, the file is stored on your computer and you can access it whenever you like - without being connected to the internet. When you download a BBC radio programme, it does not expire after seven days - it is yours to keep forever. You can even transfer a downloaded programme to a portable media player (e.g. MP3 player), so that you can listen wherever you like. This means, for example, that you could download a radio programme from the BBC onto your computer one day, and then listen to it a year later on your MP3 player while you're on a long flight.
'Podcasts' make the processing of downloading your favourite radio programmes even easier. A podcast is merely a series of downloadable audio or video 'episodes'. When a series of BBC radio programmes is available to download, we arrange them together as a podcast. You can then subscribe for free to this podcast, so that your computer automatically downloads future episodes. It's like subscribing to a magazine you like, so that it gets delivered to your house and you don't have to go and get it every week. Unlike the listen again service on BBC iPlayer, podcast episodes are downloaded onto your computer and are yours to keep for as long as you like.
Not all BBC radio programme are available to download yet, due to rights agreements, but we are launching new podcast series all the time. You'll find all podcasts from the BBC in the Podcast Directory.
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