TED Talks is Amazing But. Why Are They Hiding Their Video Podcast?

(Lately I’m realizing that good companies and orgs have watchlists so a post like this one serves as an open letter to the company, unless of course, they’re not listening, which of course is their problem, a big problem.)


I love that you’re providing all of these stimulating and informative videos.  Thank you for that.  

But why did I just spend five minutes clicking around on ted.com, looking for a “Podcast” or “RSS” link?  

I was thinking “C’mon!  You MUST have a feed here somewhere!!”

Finally I decided to search the iTunes Music Store for TED… There it is!  WTF?  Why are you hiding your feed?

I’m so glad I found it. But you need to put a link somewhere on your site so people don’t waste their time looking for what’s not there.




19 Replies to “TED Talks is Amazing But. Why Are They Hiding Their Video Podcast?”

  1. Andrew, You are too funny. And what’s funnier is the timing of your post! We at TED just TODAY finally revised the video pages on our site to give a nice easy link to all our RSS feeds (Audio podcast, video podcast, blog). Also to our email updates.

    I know, I know. Totally obvious. We’ve had RSS feeds since we first launched TEDTalks nearly two years ago, but somehow they were omitted from our site design and it took us a while to make the correction.

    Thanks for your loving nudge! And again, great timing!

    June Cohen
    Director, TED Media

  2. Aha!

    Good job, TED, June Cohen and team!

    Good job for having watchlists and for responding and for having feeds! And of course good job for making all that great content available in the first place.

  3. Funny that – I looked for a convenient video podcast feed on TED today, and could not find it. Arrived here through google though. Cheers Andrew.

  4. June Cohen, or someone else at TED Talks,
    If you’re listening, I’m still getting a decent amount of traffic from people who cannot find the TED Podcast links on your site.

    I think the problem is, that there’s no link on the HomePage, as well as no RSS metadata

    It’s only after you drill down to a Category of the site that those things become available, like they are on this page:

    As for RSS metadata, all that is needed is for you to have your webmaster add one simple line of code into your index.php page, like this (This blogging software strips out carrots and other characters so this is not exact, but your webmaster will know what I mean):
    (carrot)link rel=”alternate” href=”http://feeds.feedburner.com/tedtalks_video” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”TEDTalks (Video)” /(carrot)

    As for the for the trouble people are having finding the podcast (or unwillingness to look for it), maybe you guys should add a “podcast” link where it says,
    …It could also say Podcast and link to the itunes store subscribe page. Again, a simple fix for any high-school kid to perform in 3 seconds. Your iTunes URL is

    It may be unfair to emphasize iTunes as the main way to get the podcast, but truth be told, if someone is savvy enough to know about other podcast aggregation software, they will be able to get the podcast directly from the feed in the other snippet of code you need to add. If they don’t know about RSS beyond podcasts, they probably only use iTunes anyway. At any rate, this would be an improvement over what is there now.

  5. I use bashpodder, which likely places me in the ranks of the “saavy.” However, it still took me about an hour to find TED’s video feed in plain old RSS.

    Ready? Here it is:


    How did I find it? Well, first I had to go to the TED blog. Then from there I fiddled around until I happened to click on the link that said “Get the TED Miro Player.” This took me to Miro’s website, where down below the link to download the TED Miro Player, there was another link that said “Already have Miro? Click here to add TED podcasts.” I right clicked that in Firefox, chose “Copy Link Location,” pasted it into my text editor and extracted the URL for the actual feed within the Miro URL feed wrapper. Fortunately Miro includes the feed urls in its wrapper, unlike iTunes which gives no indication at all. So after all of that I copied the url into my bp.conf and got going.

    But all this took out a good chunk of my Sunday afternoon, just to subscribe to one sodding feed. I have contacted the TED webmasters about getting a clear, easy to find RSS podcast link on their website. These videos are simply too important to be missed for some teensy usability oversight.

  6. The audio podcast RSS link was even harder to find

    In the end I got it by substituting “audio” for “video” in the URL for the RSS feed. Duh.

  7. btw, the TED talks from iTunes are not available in my country store (India). Any ideas if you can talk to Apple and make them available? With this new iTunes release they murdered a whole lot of podcasts.

  8. Currently, the itunes option isn’t working. I can no longer download from itunes. Can someone point me toward a better option for video podcasts?

  9. Jeez…this is frustrating. I use a Zune (sorry, I bow my head in shame) so what the holly Hannah to do with iTunes to get it to my Zune I know not. And then I try the links here and find that, apparently, Ted Talks have become Ted Shows and they no longer do audio only. Why should I be so benighted as to use audio only? Because I drive long thruway trip, use Ted and other audio podcasts to pass the miles and I can’t watch the video and it just takes up a lot of useless space.
    Grrrrr. Or am I just missing something and there actually *are* masses of Ted Talks in audio….somewhere….but not under
    http://feeds.feedburner.com/tedtalks_audio…except for one lone talk.

  10. Stewart,
    I didn’t know they did an audio podcast, but I have an email of their programming person. Or maybe she’s gonna get this. I love to watch the videos because there’s often a lot to *see*

    If they did have audio-only version and you’d like me to, I will ask them. Let me know. And BTW, I have a xune too and absolutely love it, although I hate having to boot up WinXP on my mac to sync it and I hate that it doesn’t scrobble to Last.FM

  11. Andrew,

    I also am an audio listener. Much better for listening during commutes. If TED wants us to download video and just listen to audio, that’s fine, just say so. Otherwise, I like others, continue to be frustrated that no audio podcast more recent than 2008 seems to be available. Again, if TED just decided not to do audio, fine, just tell us so we’ll stop looking.

    Thx, Tom

  12. Another frustrated podcast listener here. The TEDtalks audio podcast hasn’t been updated since May 4. I can’t always use video — the iPhone doesn’t let you play just the sound of a video while the phone is in sleep mode or while using another application, and video podcasts don’t quite work right with my car adapter either. I have tried multiple ways of getting in touch with TED to ask if they’re planning to bring back the audio, but have never gotten a reply. If you have a contact there, could you please let them know that there is an audience for the audio-only version? Thanks!

  13. Now that more and more and browsers have built in video/audio players, and html5 will make all the cusom itunes and other players go the way of the dos windows, it would be wonderfu just to provide two pages with just lnks of of all the ted talk videos, and another one of the audios. If you want to minimze the effort, just profile the mp4 links only (the audio only listeners would waster a bit of yours and their bandwidth and some global energy in coercing all those electrons in the right dir directions, but for the time being that might be the price of convenience…). So anybody who has any kind of player for mp4 can play your wonderful tech talks without having to allow many of the players (which very often are difficult to find or difficult to use, or full of ads which counter to the very good ideas TED is trying to propagate, and in the worst case crash their operating systms). Do not even require php, etc, just provide the raw link to the mp4. And let them all stream!!

    Keep up the wonderful work at TED.

    Cordially, Chacko

  14. Thanks so much to Forest Purnell for giving us the rss feed… lost about 30 minutes clicking on lots of links on the TED page before turning to Google for more details. You saved me a lot of time as I don’t know much about coding/rss integration…

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