Yesterday, Craig Hockenberry announced a free Apple TV app he created called Blank. The app blanks out your TV screen until you press a button on the Apple TV remote. That way, you can listen to music or a podcast through an Apple TV without also watching the album art or screensavers.
Blank is a clever solution to something that’s been a problem ever since the second-generation Apple TV, which ditched its dedicated audio out port in favor of HDMI. How do I know that? Well, I tackled the same problem myself in 2016 in a far hackier way than Hockenberry, which I shared more than 300 issues ago in MacStories Weekly 25. As I said then, when the Apple TV’s flyover screensavers, and even HDMI, were brand new:
I enjoy the new flyover screensavers on the Apple TV, but whether you have a current generation Apple TV and use those, or use a different screensaver with any model of the Apple TV, the screensavers are a distraction when you throw a party and want to use the Apple TV for music. In my experience, people are drawn to the screensaver like moths, focusing on it instead of socializing.
My solution? Create a Photos album with a single 1080p image of a black rectangle and use it with the Apple TV’s ‘Sliding Panels’ screensaver. Blank is a far more elegant solution and even offers an inspirational quote that appears onscreen before the screen goes blank.