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How to Convert a Video Podcast to Audio Only

Do you own a video iPod? If not, you’re stuck watch video podcasts only on your computer. Until now.

These simple directions will convert your favorite video podcasts to audio only. You’ll now be able to listen to these podcasts on your iPod, with no video required.

I run Windows XP. Thus, these steps focus on Windows. However, I’m sure a similar process would work on Mac, Linux, etc.

1. Download and install MediaCoder, an open source (free) media transcoder. Simply download the latest stable release and follow the easy install process.

2. Optional: By default, MediaCoder checks for updates at startup. It does this by opening a browser window to a MediaCoder page. It annoys me, so I turned off this option. Do so by selecting File > Settings > Generic > Check for updates at startup, and then set the option to “No.”

3. Run MediaCoder and add the video podcasts you want to convert to audio. The default MediaCoder settings should work fine. You can add an entire video podcast directory by clicking the “Add Dir” button. You can also drag and drop files from Windows Explorer to MediaCoder.

MediaCoder Add

4. When you have your video podcasts loaded into MediaCoder, select Transcode > Transcode Audio Only from the menu bar. MediaCoder will begin converting your files to audio only. You’ll see progress bars, and you’ll get a little popup notification when it’s done.

MediaCoder Transcode

5. Verify that your files are all converted properly. If you look in the source directory, you should see a new mp3 file for every video podcast you transcoded.

MediaCoder Files

6. Import your new audio files into iTunes. I created a new playlist and just dragged & dropped the mp3 files into the iTunes list.

MediaCoder iTunes

You’re done!

Now you’ll have audio files in iTunes, ready to sync with your iPod. I’m going to hang onto the original video files, until I listen to the audio. Then if there’s something that’s confusing with no video, I can go back and watch it.

This method might not work well for some podcasts, when the video is integral to the message. However, I think it will be great for some, like most episodes of The Merlin Show, which are usually just Merlin and a friend talking.

Any improvements?

I threw together this solution in a few minutes. Thus, I’m sure it’s not perfect. If you run into any problems or have an idea for improvement, please let me know. Feel free to post a comment or drop me a line.

Update (Mar. 10, 9:15pm) – Chris Johnston asked if this same technique would work for .wmv files. A quick test revealed that it does. Now Chris is going to load LawProse educational videos audios onto his Treo. Awesome idea, Chris!

[tags]legal andrew, mediacoder, podcast[/tags]

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12 Responses to “How to Convert a Video Podcast to Audio Only”

  1. Chris Johnston
    March 10th, 2007

    What program are you using to make your screen captures?

  2. Andrew Flusche
    March 10th, 2007


    I’m glad you asked. Most of them are done with Cropper. It’s a free utility that provides a great screen capture mechanism. However, the capture that displays the menu selection highlighted was a standard “Print Screen” capture that I cropped down.

    Thanks for commenting,

  3. adam
    March 18th, 2007

    Not that Im “out of the loop”, but whenever I watch a vidcast (usually commandn, dl.tv…sometimes diggnation…) I find myself doing “other stuff” while the video is playign anyways…such as checking e-mail…hehe…unless they bring something to attention like, “now we will demonstrate…” or key words then I “might” switch to the other window and see what they are doing (maybe a point and click type tutorial thing…).

  4. Andrew Flusche
    March 18th, 2007


    I’m completely with you on multi-tasking while a video plays. I think it’s part of our modern age, where we can’t stand to just sit and watch something, especially if the visual aspect isn’t providing any extra information.

    Thanks for commenting,

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  7. Frances
    September 20th, 2007

    Thank you so much for posting this! I was going insane looking for just this article. I can now put my favorite comedy acts on my nano. You helped me tons! :-)

    Take care,

  8. Mr.Stiv
    August 6th, 2008

    Does this work for regular iTunes music videos too?

  9. Andrew Flusche
    August 6th, 2008

    @Mr. Stiv – I honestly have no clue about the music videos. You could try it and let us know if it works. I’m sure others might be interested in that as well. Neat idea!

  10. Joanne Ward
    March 31st, 2009

    hi i was wondering this is legel isnt if so can u prove it please, thnk u

  11. Andrew Flusche
    April 1st, 2009

    @Joanne – If you have rights to the video you are converting, it should be ok to convert the video to audio only. However, you can’t resell or distribute the audio.

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