Eyes hurting from all that screen time? Maybe it’s time to try podcasts

May 31, 2020 5:30 AM

Eyes hurting from all that screen time? Maybe it’s time to try podcasts that not only provide great content to listen to but also aid relaxation

Podcast apps do more than just play episodes of your favourite shows.

By Shriya Roy

As people around the world settle into the new stay-at-home and work-from-home reality, they have also had to adapt to extended screen times. Too much screen time, however, can leave one feeling depleted. So what do you do? Simple, listen to a podcast. Podcasts are not only entertaining and informative, they also allow you to just sit back with your eyes closed and relax. It’s no wonder then that audio streaming has been growing more than ever.

Podcast apps do more than just play episodes of your favourite shows. They pack in a lot of features, including a variety of audio tools and features to give you the best listening experience. First on the list is Pocket Casts. The app has long been one of the favourites of podcast listeners. It has features like cross-device and cross-platform syncing, episode auto-downloading and cleanup. Pocket Casts allows for podcast discovery based on your listening habits. It also features tools for streaming and downloading episodes. The app was earlier paid, but went free in September 2019.

Next in line is Google Podcasts. Google has entered the podcast game, with its very own app. Its features include the ability to adjust playback speed, Google Assistant integration and adding podcasts to the app directly from Google search. Google is also looking at AI-powered capabilities for the app in the future.

Spotify too is enjoying huge success in the podcast market. The audio streaming giant includes support for audio and video podcasts. Spotify podcasts are organised in a variety of categories, such as Storytellers, Sports & Recreation and Comedy, and users can subscribe to individual podcasts, manage their downloads and share podcasts that they like on their social media.

When it comes to ease of use and simple interface, Castro is the podcast app to go to. The app combines a simple visual design with clear audio. Episodes get downloaded in the background. The user’s app interface, therefore, isn’t cluttered with too many features. Castro’s Plus version offers advanced features such as trimming gaps to speed up playback, enhancing voices, among others.

Khabri is India’s first and fastest-growing digital audio platform providing content in regional languages. It is the world’s largest Hindi audio platform where you can listen and create audio content. The app is a big hit in content creation among audiences in tier II and III cities of India. It offers an exclusive array of creators who range from popular YouTubers to homemakers. The app is free of cost and offers users the option to download content and watch offline. Another Indian podcast app that has been making noise is Headfone. It specialises in vernacular podcasts, talk shows, short stories and other forms of audio content. The app also lets users record their own podcasts and publish them on a public profile.

Another app is Overcast, which offers a great combination of design and audio. It has a voice-boost feature that normalises the sound levels of speech, automatically raising quiet voices and lowering loud ones. The smart speed feature automatically edits out the gaps and silences in the podcast, speeding up play without distorting the audio quality.

A laugh is something that we all need during these trying times. Laughable is a podcast app that is mainly focused on comedy. Laughable boasts of the world’s largest database of comedians. It also includes athletes, actors and other public figures. The user can subscribe to other podcasts within Laughable as well.

Another well-known app is Luminary. On the app, users can not only listen to a well-curated list of podcasts, but also a library of exclusive shows. It includes shows like Fiasco, Hear to Slay and Trevor Noah’s On Second Thought. The app also recently cut its monthly fee down to $4.99 from $7.99.

Himalaya is another player in the podcast game that’s been gaining popularity. It is not only a free podcast player app for listeners, but also provides a platform for creators to publish and monetise their podcasts. The app features more than five lakh podcasters and 2.7 lakh podcasts, with more than 24 million individual episodes. Existing podcast listeners can import their subscriptions from Google Podcasts and Spotify as well.

With times changing rapidly and people struggling to adjust, technology in the form of podcasts can be a great relief, helping provide that much needed me-time. All you have to do is open the app, put on your earphones and enjoy some quality time. Happy listening!

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