How to subscribe and organize your podcast and video subscriptions using VideoLAN's flagship.


Its obvious that VLC is the champion of multimedia and is simply the best all-around video player. But it can also be used as a music player, streamer, caster, recorder and yes your new favorite podcast program.

In the past we relied upon Kodi for our content but with few local files this media hub really was just too much for our limited use. We've enjoyed mobile applications such as NewPipe and SkyTube in the Android space. We have also used the electron-based YouTube replacement FreeTubeApp on the Linux desktop but we love one-app-to-rule-them-all paradigm. We make a cautious exception for delegating local music to Clementine over VLC because of its musicically focused nicities.

The biggest drawback of using VLC as a podcast aggregator is the lack of built-in organizational tools. The default behavior is to list subscribed podcasts in the chronologocal order of subscription which is messy to the say the least. The more subscriptions you have the harder it is to enjoy them on demand.

You can sort the podcast/video subscription list by editing the vlcrc file contained within your /home/YOURUSERNAME/.config/vlc/ folder. For those running Micro$oft Dumblows 🤢 the file is located at C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\vlc\.

Near line 1339, you can see a list of all your podcasts. This is the list that needs to be sorted alphabetically seperated by the '|' character, sans apostrophe. This is most easily done using a LibreOffice spreadsheet to take advantage of a quick data filter.

[podcast] # Podcasts

# Podcast URLs list (string)
podcast-urls=https://podcast.asknoahshow.com/rss|http://lovepeopleusethings.libsyn.com/rss|https://podsync.net/yBaJYBgy0|https://podsync.net/ohvZsVgbN|https://pintswithaquinas.libsyn.com/rss|http://www.suggesteddonationpodcast.com/blog?format=rss|https://themattfraddshow.libsyn.com/rss|http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:261098918/sounds.rss|http://thesculptorsfuneral.libsyn.com/rss


Take your code begining with your first feed url and paste it into LibreOffice Calc. Save as a Text CSV. Close the file.

Open the CSV again but select the Other checkbox under the Seperator Options and type in the | character into the box. Then select the String Deliminter as a ' character.

You should now have a CSV with each podcast seperated into their own columns. If you have only a few subscriptions simply cut and paste each column url into the A column. Insert a new top row and freeze it. Give the first row a title name. Select the Data menu and create an Auto filter. You can now sort your subscriptions at ease.

At this point is pretty easy to just paste your list into your VLC config file but be sure to place the | between each url without any spaces. For a large number of podcasts its best to use the Calc spreadsheet to do this for you automatically. You can use the Rotating Tables Transposing feature in Calc. The LibreOffice wiki documents how to do this here:

In LibreOffice Calc, there is a way to "rotate" a spreadsheet so that rows become columns and columns become rows.
1. Select the cell range that you want to transpose.
2. Choose Edit - Cut.
3. Click the cell that is to be the top left cell in the result.
4. Choose Edit - Paste Special.
5. In the dialog, mark Paste all and Transpose.
6. Select OK the columns and rows are transposed.

For a large number of subscriptions we would also use Calc to include the | character for us after each url. Paste this result into the VLC file. Use your favorite editor (ours is Geany) to find-and-replace any spaces between the | characters your paste might have left. Now save the file; done!

When you restart VLC, all your podcasts will be perfectly alphabetized based upon the source feeds. You may find one or two that uses a strange title which can then be manually placed as needed in the configuration file among the others.

Close readers or long time users of VLC will know that if you try to enter the XML based feed from YouTube VLC will complain and error out. We are using podsync.net to parse our YouTube subscriptions directly into VLC. Big thanks to its creator Max who can be supported via his Patreon here. If Max's service ever dies, one can always revert back to using RSS-Bridge or FreeTubeApp for the YouTube content or until we find yet another great open-source solution to keep the web and its content free (as in freedom) for all.

If you need innovative solutions that respect your liberty please do not hesitate to contact us! We are here to help you, our customers in any way that we can. And always remember our first consultation hour is free gratis baby!

 

About the Writer
Chris Lessley
Author: Chris Lessley
A server admin, dev ops warrior and website designer since 2002, Chris is a lover of all things Linux and open-source! Each blog topic has been tested by fire in the real world and shared with the hope to help others. Need more help? Hire me! Chris' other interests include fine art and the humanities in the classical tradition and can be found writing for our friends over at gripfastart.works. If you like this content, kindly consider donating to keep this website free to all, without ads.

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