In iTunes, if you listen to a lot of podcasts, or even just a handful of them, you might want a playlist that sorts your podcasts neatly for continuous consumption in chronological order. Here's what I've found is the best way to go about doing this.
Podcast is trueThen, sort by release date. Just a few days ago, I found out that iTunes had added the option of sorting any list by release date a while ago, when I was looking for it last year. I had settled on having the feeds be checked every hour, and sorting by date added. That always had its problems with podcasts that release multiple items simultaneously, because iTunes's default behavior is to download the most recent first. As far as I can tell, there's no way to download the oldest episode that hasn't been downloaded and then the next to oldest, and so on. From what I've observed though, sorting by release date works like a charm, and even if you download the different podcasts not in chronological order, they will still sort correctly. Even if multiple items were released on the same day, and you download them in the wrong order, it seems that iTunes still understand what episodes were published in what order during the day, even though the column only displays the date, and not the time. Maybe it's actual information about the time from the feed, or maybe it just goes by the order of the items in the feed. Either way, it works beautifully.
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This configuration obviously filters out video podcasts, if you have them. For those, I created a separate, similar smart playlist. Just as before, sort by release date.
Podcast is trueAnother cool thing about this is that once the podcast has been played, it disappears from the list, and then you can go to the main list for podcasts and delete them if you want, or keep them, or whatever. As far as these playlists are concerned, a podcast, or any media in iTunes for that matter, only adds 1 to the play count if the file is playing and hits the end. Playing a little bit in the middle of the track and then skipping to the next or previous track doesn't add 1 to the play count.
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That makes these playlists great for an iPod on the go, provided you've set your iPod to remember playback position, and I think that's default for podcasts. This way, you can always just go to the start of the playlist and you'll know that you're listening to everything in order. Of course, if you're trying this for video on the iPod, remember to seek out video playlists specifically, or else you'll just get audio. I still haven't found a way to get video playlists to play on the iPhone, but I'm sure Apple will be all over that in a future update.
By the way, the video playlist I've described here seems like a perfect alternative to Miro. If I'm using my playlist, Miro just doesn't appeal to me. Of course, this was something that I made from scratch, and while I believe my playlist is universally appealing for those that would want this kind of thing, Miro is pretty cool too, and does all this from the start. It's also got a ton of other cool features, like Bit Torrent, but for me, the video playlist I've described here is sufficient.