So, when you move to WP8 you find you can't use Zune any more for podcasts.

If someone wants a like-for-like (or near as possible) replacement for Zune what's best?

Zune's great features were:

1) PC was downloading podcasts all day/night as and when they became available so I never had to stream (too unreliable in my area) and could sync with the WP7 phone and hold thousands of podcasts on it

2) Managing a very large podcast library is easier on a big PC screen than a little app on the phone

So I guess that rules out all the podcast "apps". There is the Windows Phone App for Desktop but I've been wrestling with it for a few days and it just doesn't work reliably (it doesn't seem to know what's been "played" and doesn't detect new episodes).

Is there any other solution which is a good match for the old Zune?

OK having spent the last few days looking for the right solution here are my thoughts (for any Zune lovers migrating to WP8 who land on this post).

Firstly I don't think the Windows Phone App for Desktop has anything going for it. It's such a poor replacement for Zune syncing that persisting with it is an exercise in frustration.

Secondly, I should say that soon after posting here I updated to WP8.1 and WP8.1 has a built in podcast app. I have to say that as soon as I played with it I realised that part of my fondness for Zune wasn't just the managing-my-podcasts on a PC it was also familiarity with the old WP7 media player.

So the WP8.1 podcast app, with its familiar interface, is a good way to get on board with the idea of syncing/updating/managing your feed entirely inside the phone. Without having to learn a third party app.

Simple. Clean. Familiar. I was ready to fall in love.

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However ... and this is a big however ... there are just too many feeds it won't play "An error occurred during media playback" (other podcast apps were happy to play the same file) and it doesn't reliably remember playback position. I'm not going to whine on because it could be those issues get fixed quite quickly - it's a very fresh new app/feature after all. But those problems do make the app unusable.

But this exercise did wean me onto the idea of using a podcasting app, even a third party one.

I've been trying Podcast Lounge, Podcast Critter, BringCast, iPodcast, Podcast! and some more. Not one of them, I'm afraid, as easy to use as the old player in WP7.

Podcast Lounge and Podcast Critter seem to be among the best. A special mention to Podcast Critter in view of my original question about organising large numbers of feeds and files. Podcast Critter does have the nice feature of grouping episodes by month (with each month available as a jump shortcut).

  • Can you list some of the podcast feeds that don't work? I haven't had an issue so far. – caschw May 8 '14 at 18:52
  • @caschw i've tried so many, maybe up to 10 or so, in the last couple of days. among the problems i find - unreliability in saving last playback position - assumption that i'm only interested in latest episode or "this week" - hard to navigate old episodes and mark some of them played. but i'm not a journalist writing up a piece so i havent made detailed notes about what apps had specific flaws. i was working thru them testing and trialling as fast as I can to find something that works for me – hawbsl May 8 '14 at 22:28

Windows Phone 8.1 will have some improvements, but still nothing to replace Zune. Yo might want to consider using iTunes. http://winsupersite.com/windows-phone/windows-phone-8-tip-enjoy-podcasts-go

  • While there is no "replacement for the Zune", there really isn't a need, since the new podcast app manages the feeds directly on the phone. It also lets you sync on demand, and is fairly straightforward to use, even for a larger amount of subscriptions. – caschw May 7 '14 at 21:26
  • @caschw you're right the new app is ... exactly what I wanted ... if only it didn't spit out an error on certain feeds and would remember playback position, see my answer – hawbsl May 8 '14 at 14:38
  • @hawbsl I notice that it will occasionally forget my spot, it is always predictable. Most of the time it remembers no problem. – caschw May 8 '14 at 18:53
  • Zune was much better IMO, especially if you listened to podcasts on your desktop and phone, Zune kept them in sync. – Wayne In Yak May 8 '14 at 23:53

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