I’m happy to announce the release of a new tvOS app called Blank. It turns your screen black and keeps it that way until you press any button on a remote. Seriously, that’s all it does. Here’s the screen you see when you launch the app for the first time:
That second paragraph hints at why this is important, despite the app’s simplicity.
As you get older, a good night’s sleep becomes harder to achieve. One thing that works well for my wife and me is to lower light levels before bedtime.
There has been scientific evidence of this since early in the last decade. Bright light can change your circadian rhythm and affect melatonin production, which can “potentially impact sleep, thermoregulation, blood pressure, and glucose homeostasis.”.
A big ass screen in the living room makes this hard to achieve. If you want to listen to music or a podcast before going to bed, it’s impossible to avoid a bright now playing screen or animated screen saver.
So I wrote Blank as a way to address this problem. Of course, it’s FREE so people besides me and my wife can benefit from it.
New & Improved
The first version I submitted didn’t meet Guideline 4.2 for “Design – Minimum Functionality”. Understandable, because this app was basically the “anti-flashlight” and we all know how that played out.
I took this initial rejection in stride and started working on an update that added some minimal functionality.
When you launch the app, or press any button on the remote, you get a screen with an inspirational quote. After you’ve had time to read it, the message disappears, and the screen goes black. It’s a nice addition and folks who are using the app love it.
I’m glad I did this extra work, and it’s a case where App Review helps a developer improve their product. Here’s what the quote screen looks like:
After some back-and-forth with App Review, the app was approved with these changes. Yay!
But That’s Not All!
An additional benefit became apparent after we started using Blank: it significantly lowers the energy consumption of the screen.
All modern TVs have circuits that detect a blank signal and turn off LEDs to reduce the power required by the device. If you’ve ever felt heat coming off your big screen, Blank makes that go away.
So besides improving your sleep, you’re also helping out our ever warming planet.
There Is None More Black
Simple, beautiful, classic. Enjoy!