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Podcasts, webcasts, narrowcasts and the rest of the casts: Glossary

In general, to broadcast is to cast or throw forth something in all directions at the same time. Broadcast can also be used as a noun, to mean a program that is transmitted over airwaves for public reception by anyone with a receiver tuned to the right signal channel. This glossary provides short definitions for many of the most common casts found on the airwaves or streaming through fiber optic cables.

anycast
The transmission to the nearest of a group of routers, used in Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) as a technique for chain-updating a group of routers with new routing information.

audiocast
The transmission of audio content over a data network. This term serves as a broad descriptor of any audio content that is not syndicated within an XML enclosure, i.e. a podcast. An audiocast may simply be an MP3 file posted on a server and hyperlinked to from a Web page.

autocast
The transmission of podcasts generated automatically from text from RSS feeds. Autocasting software uses XML parsers, TTS (text-to-speech) engines, and audio conversion utilities to convert text blogs into audio files that can be placed on a blog for download, synchronized to a portable audio device, or played on a desktop computer.

Berrycast
The transmission of audio or video content by means of the RIM network to a Blackberry wireless device equipped with media player software.

Bluecast
To transmit text, audio or video content by means of a Bluetooth wireless connection.

blogcast
To use a blog as a syndication platform for a podcast. Blogcasters add show notes for each episode in the body of each post and use the XML feed automatically generated by most blogging software for distribution. In practice, blogcasters are described as podcasters.

broadcast
To cast or throw forth something in all directions at the same time. Used as a noun, a broadcast has historically meant a radio or television program that is transmitted over airwaves for public reception by anyone with a receiver tuned to the right signal channel. Many other 'casts' may be used interchangeably as verbs or nouns.

crowdcasting
Crowdcasting is a problem-solving and idea-generating tactic in which a corporation disseminates details of a specific problem or situation to a carefully chosen group of people for possible solutions. The process is often conducted as a contest.

cybercast
The transmission of media programming over the Internet. See also: netcast, mediacast, Webcast

forecast
A prediction of a future event or trend, quite often the weather.

mediacast
The transmission of media over a network. Usually used to describe multimedia programming that includes text, images, sound and video. Inventive technology inc. has trademarked the term mediaCAST.

mobcast
The transmission of media content from mobile devices like portable media players (iPod, Zune, Zen) or smartphones (Treo, Blackberry and similar devices) that can be received on other compatible mobile devices. See also: mobilecast, phonecast

mobilecast
The transmission of media content from mobile devices like portable media players (iPod, Zune, Zen) or smartphones (Treos, BlackBerries and similar devices) that can be received on other compatible mobile devices. See also: mobcast, phonecast

multicast
The transmission to multiple specific receivers, as in e-mail to a distribution list or a Web transmission over the MBone network to a specific group of receiving addresses.

narrowcast
The transmission of data to a select group of subscribers. Narrowcasting is the opposite of broadcasting, where anyone with a receiver can receive a signal. Podcasts, email mailing lists and cable television are all examples of narrowcasting. RSS and Atom syndication both allow forms of narrowcasting. See also: slivercasting

netcast
The transmission of media over a network, commonly the largest of networks, the Internet. A netcast may or may not by syndicated. The term has been popularized by Leo Laporte's TWiT network, which began describing their popular podcasts "netcasts" over concerns that Apple would pursue copyright infringement suits regarding the use of "pod."

peercast
Broadly, any streaming of media to another peer on a peer to peer (P2P) network. Specifically, PeerCast is open source software that allows streaming media to be multicast. PeerCast minimizes bandwidth requirements for upload of media by using a distributed bandwidth technique, spreading the transmission of the media throughout a P2P network. In this scenario, every listener becomes a node in the network. PeerCasts do not use BitTorrent technology.

phonecast
The transmission of programming to mobile phone users. Content is optimized for distribution by a media server on the wireless network, displaying on handsets optimized for media playback. Phonecasts may be broadcast live or downloaded on-demand.

podcast
The transmission of programming through the preparation and distribution of audio files using RSS to the computers of subscribed users. These files may then be uploaded to digital music or multimedia players like the iPod. A podcast can be easily created from a digital audio file. The podcaster first saves the file as an MP3 and then uploads it to the Web site of a service provider. The MP3 file gets its own URL, which is inserted into an RSS XML document as an enclosure within an XML tag.

screencast
A digital movie where the setting is primarily a computer screen, often with audio narration describing what is occurring onscreen. This screencast, "Creating a blog in 15 minutes"(.mov) from RubyOnRails.org, describes how to do just that. Jon Udell has created this helpful tutorial for creating screencasts.

simulcast
Short for "simultaneous broadcast." A simulcast describes when programs or events are broadcast over more than one medium at the same time. Many baseball and American football games, for instance, or transmitted simultaneously on satellite, cable and broadcast television networks, as well as called on the radio. Simulcasting is the opposite of multicasting, where multiple programs are combined into one broadcast. Simulcasting has special significance in horse racing, where wagering and broadcasting must be carefully coordinated.

Skypecast
The transmission of audio content made from recording a VoIP call made using Skype.

slivercast
The transmission of video programming to a niche audience, often through relatively inexpensive means like streaming video over high-speed data connections.

talkcast
A live interactive Internet radio show, hosted and syndicated through TalkShoe.com.

telecast
A television program. Made famous by announcers offering a free transcript of "this telecast" after a television shown.

Treocast
The transmission of audio or video or media content over a network using one of Palm's Treo smartphones.

triplecast
To simultaneously broadcast a program on television, radio and an Internet site or channel. NetTalk Live! originated the term to describe its weekly program about the Internet and has trademarked it.

typecasting
To change the entity of one data type into another in programming. Outside of IT, to cast an actor in the same kind of part in a movie or theatrical production again and again.

unicast
Communication between a single sender and a single receiver over a network.

videocast
The transmission of video content over a data network. Similar to audiocast, this term serves as a broad descriptor of any video content that is not syndicated within an XML enclosure, i.e. a vlogcast. An videocast may simply be an MP4 posted on a server and hyperlinked to from a Web page.

video podcast
The same as a podcast, except that a video media file (.MP4, .MOV, .WMV) replaces the audio file with the XML enclosure. Alternative forms include vidcast and vodcast. See also: vlogcast

vlogcast
To use a blog as a platform for video podcasting. Vlogcasters add show notes for each episode in the body of each post on the blog, using the XML feed automatically generated by most blogging software for distribution of the video podcast. In practice, vlogcasters are described as podcasters.

voicecast
The transmission of audio programming to a listener on a phone. Voicecasts are usually associated with specific podcasts, which are associated with a call-in number by a third party (like Podlinez). A voicecast may be accessed from any type of handset, including a cell phone, rotary phone, VoIP phone or VoIP client.

Webcast
The transmission of live or delayed versions of audio or video broadcasts using the Web. Also see: push technology.

Zencast
The transmission of podcasts and other media to a Zen media player from Zencast software. Also, the name of that software and Web site.

Zunecast
To send media files to another user by means of the Zune's built-in WiFi capabilities.



A Very Brief History of Broadcasting

Guglielmo Marconi is often given credit for the invention of wireless telegraphy, even though Nikola Tesla holds the patent for radio. Marconi reported receipt of the first transatlantic signal from a high-powered station in Cornwall, England (an "S" repeated in Morse code) while he listened in Newfoundland. In 1903, the first transatlantic radio transmission from the U.S.A. to Europe was broadcast from a Marconi station built on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor, broadcast the world's first wireless radio program on Christmas Eve, 1906. He transmitted a short program of live music, speech and phonograph recordings from Plymouth, Massachusetts to English and British naval ships in the North Atlantic Ocean.

More than a century later, programming is now transmitted to televisions, computers, iPods and cellphones using many different technologies. In fact, adding "cast" to a term to describe a new distribution method is common throughout information technology, implying the "casting" of information. Whether it's the transmission of analog radio waves or bits, casting is here to stay.


Read more about it at:
> WhatIs.com also features a podcasting glossary.
> WhatIs.com also features a glossary of blogging terms.
> WhatIs.com also features an RSS glossary.
This was last updated in May 2008

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