Thursday, December 22, 2016

Best 4K TV Screensavers of 2016

Now that many of us have upgraded to a new 4K Ultra HD SMART TV, it is high time we listed the very best 4K TV screensavers available for download. As expected Uscenes is the clear winner with amazing aquariums and other scenes. Nature relaxation by David Huting also gets featured in our list for his great work in The States. Anyway, let's jump straight in...

Best 4K TV Screensavers

1. Coral Garden by Uscenes.

With over 2 million Youtube views, this very colorful aquarium has become the best 4K aquarium video online. The situation with Uscenes is that they offer 6 versions of their videos: a 20 minute video for 4K or HD TVs and a 3 minute self-looping screensaver for Windows and Mac laptops and PCs. The videos are meant to be played with the Repeat button selected, so that you have a 4K virtual aquarium loop as long as you like.

2. 4K Jellyfish Aquarium by Uscenes 

 You know a video is great when it shows up on a major TV series on massive screens. In the hit show Pure Genius this video has been licensed and is shown on enormous futuristic screens, proving that the 4K resolution is capable of being shown on even the biggest UHD SMART TV screens.


3. 4K Fireplace by Uscenes 

This simple fireplace video fills your TV with flames. It has been a top seller because of the simple but classy flames and brass frame. This is great at Christmas and Uscenes have also been adding a 3 and a 4 hour long Christmas Fireplace video on Vimeo.


4. The Ocean Tank by Uscenes 

This enormous aquarium is like being underwater in a rich ocean habitat. There are multiple types of sharks in this stunning 4K shark tank. Plus beautiful manta rays who appear to be floating through the scene like giant underwater birds. There are also some pretty cool big fish in this masterpiece of an aquarium. If you have a super big screen this one will be amazing.


5. Nature Relaxation Journey 2 by Nature Relaxation 

David Huting always produces superb scenery videos and this 2016 release is a great example. Unlike Uscenes who use simple sounds to match their single scenes, David adds music and combines multiple videos in his TV screensavers.


6. Deep Space Relaxation by Nature Relaxation 

Nature Relaxation have also managed to get some amazing NASA footage for fans of outer space. This is for all the sci-fi fans out there and those who love seeing Mother Earth from space.


7. Marina Bay Night by Uscenes

This lovely 4K Cityscape is a UHD recording of Dubai at night. It was released at the end of last year, but I had to include it to give our collection of the best 4K TV screensavers of 2016 a well rounded choice.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Get a Christmas Fireplace for your TV

A virtual fireplace on your TV is great at Christmas. It gives you the chance to use your TV to create a nice atmosphere which is cozy and welcoming.

To watch these you can find some long ones on Youtube, some even as long as 3 hours. But I prefer to download the ones from Uscenes which are only 20 minutes, but higher quality.

The idea is to just let the repeat all day continuously. I found an example from Uscenes' Facebook page which I follow below. Click image if you want to go to their site and see the fireplace videos, which also come with computer screensaver versions which self loop.
tv fireplace christmas day
Fireplace video on Xmas Day
They are also suggesting these could be used as a last minute Christmas gift by downloading them and putting them on an SD Card or USB flash drive. Most new SMART TVs can play the videos.

Update 2016: Uscenes now creates 4K UHD relaxation videos and screensavers. for their selection of fireplaces click here--> Fireplace Screensavers and look out for the ones with the yellow 4K logo. 4K TV screensavers are rare, but Uscenes have a great selection including aquariums and scenery.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Why Don't TV Screensavers Exist Yet?

It is a shame that TV screensavers do not really exist yet. The only ones available so far are image slideshows like you get on the Apple TV. These just aren't good enough. Hopefully the TV manufacturers making SMART TVs will wake up soon and realise most people would appreciate proper video screensavers on their screens.

What is the alternative?
For now your only option is to loop a video on your screens. People like are supplying these videos which can then be played on media players such as iTunes and streamed to a TV through a box like the Apple TV. It is not an ideal solution but it is a good stop gap for now.

Is it easy to make these videos to use as a TV screensaver?
Actually it isn't too difficult. Most of us now have smartphones with HD video recording capabilities. These devices won't create crystal clear images like Uscenes make, but at least you can create your own TV screensavers.

How to make your own TV screensaver video

1. Firstly you will need a tripod or some other contraption to keep your camera or smartphone steady. TV screensavers look best when the camera does not move, giving you the illusion of a window to another place.
2. Set your camera's video setting to full HD 1080p. 1080p will give you the largest size image which is regarded as full HD. If you don't have a 1080p option go with 720p or 1080i.
3. Find a subject to film. This could be anything you find attractive such as a fish tank, fire, river or animals. You want to make sure that there is something moving though otherwise you may as well just use a photo.
4. Record for a few minutes. The idea is to loop the videos to play forever, so you want a scene with movement which won't look odd when it repeats. If the loop point isn't smooth then make a longer video so you have loop points less often.
5. Edit the footage using a video editing software. There are free and paid versions available, those using IOS can use iMovie which is free for anyone who has bought an Apple product fairly recently. Be sure to export the file in a format your media player can play e.g. MP4/H264
6. Load the video into your media player (make sure you use one with loop/repeat function) and stream it to your TV. If you don't have a media streamer you can connect your computer or laptop to your TV with a cable. If you don't have a media player/streamer then you can burn the files to disk, just remember that DVD (720) is lower in quality to Bluray (1080) and these are dying out.

What type of camera is best to use for these videos?
If you are prepared to buy a new camera the best option is to avoid camcorders as they do not have the capabilities of DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Camcorders are designed for using on the move with powerful zooms. They have small sensors and the ones under $1,000 will not give cinematic looking images.

DSLR cameras produce the best video. These are the ones which most photographers use. For around $500 you can get a basic Canon DSLR. For a little extra you can get a mirrorless camera with the same capabilities such as the Sony Nex line. These are more compact which is important to many. If portability is important then the best point and shoot camera is the Sony RX100 which ranges from $500 to $750. This one will fit in your pocket and do a really good job with video.

The important thing to remember is that the best camera is the one you have with you. So don't worry too much about needing to buy a new one at first. Just get out there and get shooting. Then if your device doesn't produce a crisp image on your TV you can think of upgrading later. Video editing software allows you to add extra sharpening to video as well as tweaking the colors.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Virtual Fireplace Videos to Watch on TV

Christmas is almost here and what better way to make use of your TV than to use a virtual fireplace. I am a big fan of these videos at this time of year.

There have been some cool recordings this year from Uscenes. They sell downloads which include a video for your TV, plus a screensaver for your computer. So even if you don't have the right equipment for your TV, you can still enjoy a virtual fireplace on your computer screens.

These downloads require certain equipment to play them unlike DVDs. They are mp4's so you play them through a media player like iTunes or VLC, that way you can enjoy them on any screen and loop them continuously. You can also use media players to create playlists of different fireplaces.

Below are my two favorite virtual fireplace videos from the Uscenes collection.

This one is 20 minutes long, so you can actually enjoy it as it is. It is worth buying the full download though if you enjoy it as that has no branding and you don't need to stream.

I like the one below as it has white ash on the logs, which reminds me of snow:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Best Aquarium Screensaver in HD

When the sun starts shining I usually switch from fireplaces to aquarium screensavers. My favorite aquarium screensaver at the moment is Living Coral Aquarium, from Uscenes. These guys are doing some really good quality TV screensavers and have been my go-to site for quality downloads recently.

I am a big fan of Living Coral Aquarium because the tank actually has real live corals inside. Also the fish are just my style too, very colorful and exotic looking. They have uploaded this one as a 20 minute version and you can see the video below.

You can check out more of their TV screensavers here. They are all in full HD which is a refreshing change as many providers are still filming in 720p or less. The cameras they use are obviously very good too, not your standard camcorder like many video makers use.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Virtual Fireplace

A virtual fireplace on your TV or computer screen is the ideal way to bring a warm cozy feeling to a room. There are two types of virtual fireplaces. The first is recordings of real log fires. The second is computer generated graphics. The first is always the preferred choice with the animated versions only really useful for a screensaver on your computer screen.

You can get a virtual fireplace for free but it will likely have a watermark on the screen, or be poor quality, so I'd forget about this. The good news is that buying a virtual fireplace download or DVD is good value and good quality, so you are better off paying. After all you will be saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars compared to a real fireplace in your living room.

Benefits of owning a virtual fireplace

One great thing about having a fireplace video is that you can use it in any room of your home. You could even transfer it to your iPad or tablet and use in a hotel room or when visiting friends. Entertaining guests in your home will become more enjoyable when you have a virtual log fire burning away in the corner. They have a wow factor, especially when watched on a large HD TV screen.

Playing one of these video files on your TV screen is like having a screensaver for your television. They encourage you to stop watching trash shows and read a book, or have a conversation. Having a log fire in the room (even if it is on a screen) really makes the place feel warmer. It must be the orange glow from the flames which does it.

Usually there will just be the gentle sound of crackling embers which also adds to the vibe. Personally I play my video when I am browsing on my tablet, reading a book or eating. It has been a big hit when I've had friends over for a dinner party. I suspect it could also be a good trick for parents to use when they want their kids to focus n homework instead of the TV.

Where can I buy a virtual fireplace DVD online?

Amazon of course. They have a selection of options to choose from. I have pasted the DVD and instant video links below. The great thing about buying from Amazon is that they have consistently low prices, fast delivery, reliable service and other buyers leave reviews. My tip is to buy the most recent fireplace DVD available as it is more likely to be in HD which is essential for large screens. It really makes all the difference when the picture is perfect quality as it makes the effect so more life like. Blu-ray discs are the best quality if you have a machine which plays them.

You can also download video files online. For me this doesn't work well as my internet connection isn't perfect, so the downloads cut off and then I have to start all over again. If yours is strong then downloading will save you some money, although you won't have the menu and screen options that comes with a DVD or Blue-ray disc.

If you can't afford to make a purchase right now, you will find some options online. Video sites like Youtube have a variety of options which you can stream onto your computer screen. I'm not sure if these are downloadable but I'm guessing that is not allowed. Besides, one of the main attractions of owning a DVD is that it can be set to loop. This means it plays repeatedly whereas any online videos will have to be restarted after 5 or 10 minutes. A looping fireplace video is essential as it allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the warm feeling. Here's an example I found online: video source