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 Uscenes.com 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. Best Lens for taking photos: Fujifilm 50mm f2 Vs Viltrox 56mm f1.4
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.
I recommend you keep updated with tech blogs and websites like Mike's blog
to keep your ear to the ground with regards to TV screensaver technology. Hopefully one day they become apps like on computers.