AppleTV Podcasting Best Practices

You know that I love my AppleTV and with the recent updates, it’s even better than ever…

Not that I’m an expert on the topic of podcasting, but I got this interesting email from Apple today with some how-to’s/best practices and figured that I’d put it up here so I didn’t lose track of it for the day that I kick my ass in gear and producing some content! :)

Greetings from the iTunes Podcasting Team:

The Apple TV “Take Two” software upgrade has been released, making it easier than ever for people to enjoy your podcasts wherever there is a TV. A whole new audience will understand the benefits of podcasts as soon as they experience them this way.

Recommendations to help you create the best possible experience for users:

1. Apple TV viewers are immediately aware of video quality. If you encode your video podcast at 320×240, we strongly encourage you to increase the resolution to 640×480 or 640×360 (depending on the aspect ratio of your source files). When encoded well, video podcasts at this resolution look great on Apple TV and still play on iPhone and video-compatible iPods. To ensure compatibility, we recommend that you encode using QuickTime’s “Movie to iPod” preset or Compressor’s “Apple > Apple Devices > H.264 for iPod video and iPhone 640×480″ preset.

2. When you perform the final encode on your video, enable fast starting. Most recent versions of QuickTime enable this setting automatically. But it’s easy to undo the setting by making changes to the file after the encode. If you do make a change after the encode, be sure to “Save As” again.

3. Apple TV displays a large version of the podcast art (the file referenced in the tag). We recommend that you use a 600×600 square JPG or PNG file.

4. Several new introductory video tutorials have been developed for iTunes, including one for podcasts. If your web site offers how-to information for new podcast users, please consider linking to it.

For those hosting podcasts on their own servers, consider the following recommendations:

5. To reduce wait times, iTunes and Apple TV use byte-range requests in some circumstances. For example, Apple TV 2.0 employs this functionality when the user accesses the podcast directly over the Internet. We recommend hosting episode files on HTTP/1.1 servers that correctly support the HTTP byte-range request specification.

6. Please ensure that your HTTP servers return the correct MIME types in the Content-Type header. Failing to do so can create errors. A list of MIME types can be found in the iTunes podcast technical spec.

Useful links:

1. Installing the free upgrade on an existing Apple TV
2. iTunes Store Podcast Technical Specification
3. iTunes Video Tutorials: Get Free Podcasts

Many thanks for listing your podcast on iTunes.

Best regards,

The iTunes Podcasting Team

Good stuff!

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008 at 8:38 pm and is filed under apple, podcasting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “AppleTV Podcasting Best Practices”

  1. Josh Bancroft Says:

    It was nice to see this today. It matches exactly the “best format practices” I arrived at after hours and hours of trial and error and experimentation and testing.

    Kind of nice to have all my work “validated” by Apple. ;-)