Player FM 3.0 is here: Video with Catalogue, Enhanced Audio, Related Series, International curation

It’s been 1.5 years since 2.0 launched and it’s time for another big update! Before we run down the new features, thank you to all the users who have taken time to leave reviews and spread the word to their friends. And a special thanks to the awesome beta community for putting with our crazy polls, experiments, and the occasional hand-drawn scrawl.

Video

Call them vodcasts, videopodcasts, or “a bit like that tube site but somehow in a podcast app” … videos have always been part of podcasting. Sometimes presented as companions to an audio podcast, other times a pure-play video series or a TV show reformatted for the world of video podcasting. Player FM now downloads and plays video, and we’ve added a couple of other features to help with this. The catalogue now features a video filter so you can pick any topic and see the latest video series and episodes available. You also have a new setting to decide if the full-screen player opens after you hit the play button. We reckon you’ll want it to open when playing a video, so that’s the default, but it’s up to you now.

Enhanced Audio

Player FM already has a variable-speed control, with the unusual capacity to work while streaming (not just on a downloaded episode). With 3.0, we have enhanced the playback experience in two dimensions. Firstly, you now have enhanced audio settings to automagically boost volume, skip silence, and reduce noise. The great thing about podcasts is they are recorded by so many different people in so many different environments, and not always audio engineered to perfection. With these new capabilities, you’ll be able to play your favorite shows without compromising on audio quality. Second – formats! While MP3 is the staple of audio podcasts, there are other formats out there, and you’ll now find the custom player is more broadly compatible with them.

All this continues to work on both streamed and downloaded episodes.

The advanced player control has been updated to accommodate these features as below, and you’ll also find the speed control and sleep timer easier to operate now. (No more sliders!)

Related series

Player FM is all about solving the hardest question in podcasting: “What should I listen to?”. A great source of inspiration is to figure out which shows are like the ones you are already digging. And so, Player FM 3.0 introduces Related Series. Open the series detail screen, tap on “Related”, and see a list of similar shows. (Note not all series have related series yet; it depends on how much metadata is available.)

To support quick access to this feature, as well as series descriptions, the series screen has been updated. With a smaller header, you now have more room to explore its episodes from the get-go.

Localisation

Following the recent Spanish release, Player FM will now support users in German, Italian, and Russian. These are more than app translations, but fully-curated local catalogues. In addition, a new “Countries” feature is available to highlight a variety of podcasts from each country.

More languages and countries are coming – let us know if you’d like to help contribute or give us feedback on the translations.

Quick access from Discover

Discover is the place where you get fresh recommendations on your favorite topics. But it’s also a front door to the catalogue. The earlier catalogue button has now been updated to jump straight into popular, trending, videos, and countries sections.

Go get Player FM 3.0

We’ve been enjoying these features in beta for a while now and we can’t wait for you to enjoy them too. Player FM 3.0 has begun rollout now and should reach all users in the next day. If you can’t wait, opt into the beta and get it right now.

Player FM 2.8.2 gets more space to explore

What else to listen to?

We want you to find out more podcast shows that you will like.

That is why we rolled out v2.8.2 with more space to explore podcasts to listen to and follow. From the Discover window – just click ‘More in Catalogue’ and you can choose from Popular, Trending and Latest to discover new podcast shows. You can also access Catalogue by clicking on the three bars on the upper right.

So is it downloading?

We’ve also updated the Downloads screen to help you monitor progress and browse downloaded as well as queued episodes. So you never have to ask.

We’re currently working on a lot of updates to the service, based on your feedback and some things we’ve wanted to do with the app that we think would improve your listening experience.

Live life on the fast lane and be a beta tester.

Player FM 2.8.1 Gets a Download Button plus more

It’s time! Player FM now has the most awaited download button. While Play Later performs a similar function by keeping latest playlist items offline, the new download button is more familiar to users of traditional podcast apps.

The download button also adds several advantages over adding to Play Later, namely the ability to “just download now” even on 3G and battery, and the ability to keep episodes permanently on the device without worrying about auto-cleanup. Play Later is still recommended for most users to keep episodes offline, because of exactly those points – it helps you manage bandwidth and power by only downloading when your settings say so; and it cleans up to keep a fixed amount of stored episodes. But for full control, you now have a download button and a corresponding delete button for any downloaded episode.

Swiping

We’ve added a new feature which is swiping. Enable it in Display Settings to use Play Later and Mark as Played with ease. It’s still an early feature, so you’ll need to enable it in Display Settings for now. You can still use the overflow menu for all episode options too.

Additional Bug fixes

Be the first to receive future updates by becoming a Beta Tester.

All new web navigation bar

Player FM’s toolbar has been updated with a top-row navigation bar to use the web app more efficiently. The first categories are your starred topics (if logged in) followed by the main topics.

Also, on the right most part of the web’s toolbar you will find “ALL TOPICS”. Clicking it will launch an overlay to browse all topics, podcasts by country, what’s trending and popular and lastly networks.

We hope that this helps you navigate easily within the web app and make it easier for you to locate your favorite podcasts.

Featured on Google Play

Shortly after v2.8, Player FM was recently featured in the main section of Google Play globally for the first time. High five!

Player FM 2.8: Reaching more audiences around the world

Player FM 2.8 is now starting to reach more audiences and helping everyone get content in the language of their choosing.

¿Habla Español?

Spanish is now the first international edition of Player FM and we promise there’s more to come! It’s not just a language translation but all the topics, catalogues and episodes are now available in Spanish.

New “Made In …” feature

Available to Spanish speakers, showing popular Spanish podcasts by country. English is coming soon.

Catalogues have been redesigned

HD images have been added just like what you see on the web version. No more boring channels as each channel has a unique HD photo.

Episode detail animation

No more static images popping up. Episode detail animation has been added from list to individual series.

Auto cluttered listing fixed for Android Auto

Truncated titles fixed so you see a neater episode list on your screen.

Improved downloading

It’s now even faster and better

Bug fixes

The new version go through a series of bug fixes to enhance your listening experience.

Check out the Google Play Store and update the app to experience these brand-new features!

Be the first to receive future updates by becoming a Beta Tester.

Player FM 2.7.1: Chrome custom tabs, funky animation, and more

Player FM 2.7.1 has been launched with several new features. Here’s the rundown of the new developments:

Chrome Custom Tabs

As noted on the Android and Chrome blogs, Chrome 45 is now out with custom tab support. This is the feature that was announced at Google IO, which helps to bridge the gap between native and web. If you click on external links inside the app, it will open in a Chrome browser as before, but now the transition and web browser appearance feels like you are still inside the Player FM app. You’ll also find publisher links are pre-fetched if you have opened them from the new Links dialogs.

Here’s an example of an external link you might have opened via an episode’s shownotes:

Faster, smoother, transition from list to individual episode screen

So you can click play and listen straight away to your favorite episode.

Display Settings

We’ve added a new Display Settings section, which has helped us to clean up the overflow menus in the main screen.

That’s taken from the beta … where episode swiping is now possible.

Better support for Chromecasting from multiple devices

Multiple devices can easily use Chromecast and the Player FM app.

Bug fixes

The new version also underwent a couple of bug fixes to enhance your listening experience.

Check out the Google Play Store and update the app to experience these brand-new features!

Be the first to receive future updates by becoming a Beta Tester.

Player FM version 2.7 Hits Google Play Store

Player FM 2.7 is now in the store with some user-interface updates that should make listening to your favorite podcast shows more enjoyable. Thanks for your feedback and suggestions that helped us to build these features and polish them for release.

Widget Personalization: Resizable, Customisable, Material Homescreen Widget

You can now resize (limited to 4×1, 3×1, 2×1, 1×1) the Player FM widget on your android homescreen.

When you add the widget, there’s now a customisation dialog with the option to choose between light (the new material theme) or dark theme (the original, Holo-inspired, style), and between semi-transparent dark background or round corners with inset thumbnails. A lot of detail here, but we know how much widget installers like to customise their home-screens! Plus there’s a lot of themes out there demanding different kinds of widgets.

Episode Listings update

Episode listings have been redesigned with a cleaner look – a bigger font without losing the amount of content being shown. Play buttons now indicate downloaded state – solid red for downloaded episodes and open gray for those that will stream from the cloud. There’s also a new overflow menu, making it easy to mark as played, share, and so on.

Links to Series and Episodes

Series and episodes now come with detailed links dialogs, which can help you share and download exactly what you want, as well as getting more . You can also use the links to download raw episode files and even share it with friends.

Discover is More Personalised and Better Organised

You can now follow your favorite topics and check out new shows every day with a smarter, more personalised and better organised Discover feature.

Auto-Detection of Downloaded Episode Duration

The new auto-detect feature allows you to see the length of downloaded episodes, in cases where the publisher omitted it.

Performance Improvements and Bug Fixes

Plaver FM version 2.7 include bug fixes and performance improvements aimed at making the app snappier and even more intuitive. In particular, you’ll find the play/pause button more responsive as we were able to defer some activities that were blocking it, such as logging.

Check out the Google Play Store and update the app to experience these brand-new features!

Be the first to receive future updates by becoming a Beta Tester.

Player FM on Amazon Appstore

I’m pleased to announce Player FM is now available on Amazon’s Appstore for Android. We decided to list on Amazon as we’d received requests from users who don’t have Play on their devices and, well, asking people to install APKs gets tired quickly! This includes owners of Kindle Fire and BlackBerry 10.

Additionally, being on Amazon means another way for people to discover the app when they type in “podcasts” to see what’s out there.

The app is functionally equivalent to the current version on Play and users can still connect to their Google account via a webview login. Early tests indicate it’s working fine, but don’t hesitate to let us know should you encounter any issues. It’s presently listed in English-speaking markets and will expand once we roll out international catalogues (coming soon!).

Feedburner’s URL switch

[Update on the morning after (Dec 4) 2014: Feedburner has now rolled this change back. Nevertheless, it remains a valid thing for any feed to do, if unusual, so something podcast apps should be prepared to handle.]

Today I noticed Tim Pritlove tweet about an important Feedburner change in how episode URLs are published, which has caused playback errors with several podcast clients. Here’s an overview, technical detail to follow.

Player FM is back to normal now is all you really need to know.

Feedburner’s URL switch

It’s still not clear when they made the switch, but at some recent time, Feedburner started publishing scheme-less URLs. So instead of http://example.com, it would just be //example.com. Scheme-less URLs are perfectly valid for links on a web page, and simply mean “use the same scheme (e.g. http or https) as the current page”. Here’s an example – //google.com. I linked to //google.com, which the browser interprets as http://google.com since this blog is on a http URL. If you were instead reading this on Player FM’s website, which is now all SSL, the same link would go to https://google.com.

It’s possible other feeds use this standard too, but I’ve never come across it.

This works less well with feeds because many feed parsers don’t know about this standard. So they just save the URL as “//example.com”. Then when the episode is later downloaded or played by an app, the app also doesn’t know about the standard, and even if it did, might be detached from the original feed URL. So the app tries to download or play a nonsense URL, frustration ensues.

Impact on Player FM

Player FM is indexing approximately 9000 feedburner URLs. Of those, about 3000 were affected by this, judging by their URLs.

First step was to update TestData, the open-source project I use to publish configurable test feeds. I patched it to allow the scheme to be configurable. With that done, by passing in an empty media_scheme parameter, I could simulate Feedburner’s scheme-less URLs and get some test coverage for the subsequent fix. Example.

For the fix, I considered forking Feedjira, the Ruby feed parser, to deal with scheme-less URLs, but in the interests of a quick fix, I instead opted to just post-process its feed parsing. So after it parses the feed, some code will translate any //example.com URLs to the proper URL based on the scheme of the feed they’re contained in.

Once fixed, I’ve ensured feeds are re-fetched via Sidekiq (the message processor, so it will happen quickly and in parallel). The fetches were queued up with priority given to the most subscribed feeds, so for almost all users, it would only take about 10 minutes for feeds to be back to normal. The only delay after that is dependent on phone settings, ie how long until an update occurs. For the website, the re-fetches bust caches so that web pages were immediately fine again (as Player FM is SSL and these episode URLs weren’t, those episodes wouldn’t play until the re-fetches happened).

Although this was short notice, the good news is this URL format could theoretically be used by other feeds too. So the update today should help the feed crawler to be one notch more compatible with the universe of podcast feeds out there.