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YouTube's new screensaver on TV is infuriating and you can't even turn it off!

There's inconsiderate anti-user decisions and then there's this.

Published onJune 1, 2024

youtube android tv screensaver
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The one thing I don’t like more than companies messing with a product that works is them messing with it to add a function no one asked for. And the one thing I dislike more than that is when the change is thrown in my face, with no opt out and no setting to disable it. And the one thing I hate more than both of these is YouTube’s new screensaver on TVs.

For the past few weeks, YouTube on my Android TV box and my Chromecast with Google TV has been overtaking the TV’s screensaver function. Five minutes of inactivity with the YouTube app open and boom! Feast your eyes on a new random video thumbnail screensaver! Say I’ve paused my video to search for something on my phone or grab a drink or whatever, I come back and find a random thumbnail on my TV.

Do you like YouTube's new screensavers on your TV?

628 votes

At first, I thought I was doing something wrong. I’m used to the Chromecast screensaver kicking in, but after much later than five minutes. So I went looking in YouTube’s settings for an option to disable these screensavers and well, nope, there’s no toggle for that. I looked in my Android TV‘s settings, but the shortest timeout is five minutes, which is the same as that silly automatic YouTube screensaver, so it keeps overtaking the Chromecast one.

Someone at YouTube decided that invading my living room with random videos is a good idea, and they might've gotten a promotion out of it.

The other issue is that these screensaver videos are not something I’ve ever watched or added to any playlist. I never asked for them. They’re random nature and fireplace videos that YouTube has picked. The one saving grace is that the video doesn’t autoplay; it’s just a thumbnail. Pressing back on my remote takes me to my original paused video.

But if I dare press the up button by mistake, which is something I’m used to doing in order to resume playback of regular YouTube videos, then that silly screensaver starts playing instead of my paused video. And now, I have to exit it to go back. There aren’t enough cuss words to explain how infuriating this is. Even more so when these screensavers end up in my YouTube watch history!

And did I mention that I’m a YouTube Premium subscriber? Oh, because I am. I pay for YouTube to support creators and for the privilege of skipping ads, video previews, and random crap. Not this random crap, though. This particular flavor of random crap is apparently un-skippable.

So let me summarize this for everyone:

  1. YouTube’s new screensaver can not be disabled.
  2. It does not discriminate between Premium and free users. Everyone gets to enjoy this wonderful tech advancement.
  3. It overtakes Chromecast’s default screensaver.
  4. It gets triggered at the lowest five-minute timeout, so you better rush to the bathroom and come back! And no, you can’t change its timeout.
  5. It shows random thumbnails of videos you have no control over on the biggest screen in your home. Oh, how I yearn for the day when someone figures out a way to slip in ads or raunchy videos in there!
  6. If you press the wrong button (a button your muscle memory might be used to pressing to resume regular videos), it starts playing the darned screensaver video instead.
  7. And it shows up in your watch history.

Perfect. 15/10. Would promote the product manager who launched this.

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