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How the new Xbox One screen dimmer works in the Xbox fall update

The 1710 Xbox One update will also bring elements of Fluent Design, a redesigned home screen, a new guide, and much more. The 1710 update is currently in testing on the Xbox Insider Program, with the Alpha and Beta rings enjoying the most up to date features.

We recently got an advanced look at the new screen dimmer features, and they're going live to the Alpha ring very soon. There's nothing particularly ground breaking here, but it's nice to see the feature evolve beyond its basic feature set.

Much like the current screen dimmer, you're able to set specific time intervals for the screen to go dark. Under the "Idle options" menu, found under All Settings, and then Preferences. The screen saver now includes the time, mic info, and controller battery level. I feel as though there might be some room for additional customization in future updates, perhaps with different styles of screen saver, old-school Windows-style.

Do we need screen savers in 2017?

Screen savers were originally intended to prevent screen burn-in when the display was showing a single idle image. While CRTs and older Plasma TV sets were particularly susceptible, modern TVs are generally more resistant.

Microsoft's new screen dimmer is designed specifically to protect expensive TV sets and monitors.

However, OLED screens can still suffer. Microsoft's new screen dimmer is designed specifically to protect expensive TV sets and monitors, with games in mind.

Although it's hard to see in the screen shots, a subtle noise pattern with varying intensity will scroll across the screen in horizontal and vertical bars. The idea is that the variation prevents your screen's pixels from remaining at a high intensity, and it also helps scrubs image retention from the display from static UI pieces and similar bright, high-contrast elements.

Large notifications

The new screen saver will display much, much larger notifications than the smaller ones we're used to today. The large notifications are designed to catch your eye if you're working away from your TV, or paying attention to something else. They're easily activated too, using the "Y" button on your controller. These "idle" notifications will also head out to mobile devices if you're away from the TV.

As you can see, the new idle notifications will leverage your avatars, giving the feature a greater prominence in preparation for the new Avatars, slated for future builds.

You can also scroll through recent notifications, using the RB and LB shoulder buttons.

Although you can't see an option (yet), you can also now activate the screen saver from the long-press Xbox button menu on your controller. You will be able to hold down the Xbox button on your controller, and simply hit "X" to activate the screen saver.

Wrapping up

To speculate, the new screen dimmer could be expanded to include new animations, perhaps even image slide shows from our favorite games or screenshots in the future. Perhaps we could even get the Windows Spotlight feature currently available on the Windows 10 lock screen, pulling high-res photos from Bing's front page.

The 1710 update is expected to arrive for the public some time in October 2017, and we'll also see new Avatars, and maybe even game gifting included before the Xbox Insider Program is finished with this preview wave.

The latest 1710 Xbox update: light theme, and more!

Update September 12, 2017: We've updated this article to reflect the latest information from the Alpha ring, and provide some background on exactly what the new screen dimmer does.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

23 Comments
  • Is there no Kinect integration where it recognizes you return to the room and then kills the screen saver?
  • its over even i know that
  • and who is watching then? Just turn it 100% of when not in use, thats how to save Energy 😎 
  • hum i want to say no. my want to feedback it
  • it would be nice if they enable a photos slideshow.  Similar to how it works when you idle in Windows 10 when you walk away for a few minutes the Xbox locks and starts a slideshow of your photo library (OneDrive photos in the case of Xbox One).  
  • 'LED-based TVs are generally resistant to screen savers' - resistant to burn-in maybe?
  • No no, they'll simply REFUSE to run a screensaver. Total madlads.
  • Fixed, sorry about that
  • I'd be happy if the Xbox wasn't stupid and actually respected my TV's screensaver feature. LGs OLED TVs all come with a screensaver feature to help prevent burn-ins and preserve energy when the screen is idle.
    The Xbox disrespects that and overrides it with their stupid "dim screen" policy.
    This "screensaver" doesn't make it any better judging by the looks of it. If it were to adopt something like turning the screen black and then have the clock with notification symbols moving around (think Glance screen) THAT would be good and useful. As it is Id rather they made the console stop overriding the TVs security features.
  • And which standard would your tv mplement to inform the Xbox that it handles this?  I am not aware of one, and if there isn't a standard, then how do you expect the Xbox to do it? Does your TV even have a proprietary signal that it broadcasts to devices to tell them not to kick in the screen saver? How many other devices do you have that magically know not go into screen saver mode? And what of us that would rather use the Xbox's screensaver rather than the TV's? And how is this a security feature? How many people are roaming about your house that if they were to see your in progress Halo game constitutes a security risk?
  • You're either very daft or you read nothing of what I wrote... "Which standard would your tv mplement to inform the Xbox that it handles this?" - What part of "the Xbox overrides the TV settings" didn't you understand? If you have the console overriding the TV's actions, that means the console does communicate with the TV. In fact, if it didn't, it wouldn't be able to turn the TV on and off when the console itself turns off.   "Does your TV even have a proprietary signal that it broadcasts to devices to tell them not to kick in the screen saver?" We are talking about the exact opposite. It's the TV that has the screen saver. Not the device. It's the Xbox that overrides the TV screensaver, not the other way around. "How many other devices do you have that magically know not go into screen saver mode?" All my LG OLED TVs have that "magical" feature. The TV detects when there's no movement on the screen and turns the screen saver on. So it doesn't go into screensaver when you're watching a film but it does if you open up the YouTube app and leave it open and untouched.   "And how is this a security feature?" I will just quote myself here since you can't read: "LGs OLED TVs all come with a screensaver feature to help prevent burn-ins and preserve energy when the screen is idle." This isn't about privacy, genius. It's about protecting the display.   (BTW, just FYI, I don't even like Halo)
  • Just because it can send an infra red signal to your TV to turn it  on or off doesn't mean the Xbox actual understands the status of your TV. .  This is no differeent than any generic programmatical remote and that is all the Xbox is being a generic remote.  As for the screen saver, why don't you just turn off the feature on the Xbox. Out of the three devices in the iving room you are actually the smart one in this equation.  settings > console > screen saver > disable.   "The TV detects when there's no movement on the screen and turns the screen saver on. " By the way that wasn't his point.  He rightly pointed out you don't actually have any other external devices attached to your TV that are actually communicating with the TV itself and completely aware of the TV status.  Only the TV is aware of it's status.  So, why expect the Xbox to magically be any different? 
  • The Xbox in no way, shape, or form, is overriding a TV's screensaver function - there's no way for a device to even do that. This is a feature that just dims the output from the console itself.
  • So... If we translate your post and direct your feedback to where the complaint should really be... You are mad at TV manufacturers because they still today haven't created a way for external devices to read the TV's status.   This is a simple feature for Microsoft and Nintendo to add if the TV-manufacturers would actually care.
  • "If it were to adopt something like turning the screen black and then have the clock with notification symbols moving around (think Glance screen) THAT would be good and useful." Erm.... That is exactly what they have done.
  • No. According to the screenshots the screen is dimmed, not turned black. THAT makes quite a bit of difference.
  • As per usual you're the daft one. It doesn't just dim the screen. It also activates a mode where the pixels shift and avoid high-intensity bursts. It's designed with OLEDs in mind. Then again I'm usually not surprised when you're wrong. It happens almost every single post you make.
  • actually, with OLEDs becoming popular, screensavers need to make a comeback.  with OLEDs, each pixel is individually lit and is more prone to dimming over time.    this is a good summary on OLED:   OLED screens, by contrast, degrade over time. The longer their individual colored segments are illuminated, the dimmer they get due to the degradation of the chemicals within the LEDs. Leave a fixed bright image on the screen for a long time—the Windows logo on the Start button, say—and those pixels will wear out the fastest. Moreover, that degradation happens unevenly, and the blue LEDs lose brightness faster than the red and green ones.   This degradation over time means that OLED screens tend to have a shorter lifespan than comparable LCDs. Their overall brightness decays faster than that of LCDs, and the uneven degradation can result in discoloration and "burned in" ghost images, where parts of the screen that should be white or grey become tinged with color.   And considering how expensive OLED is (especially on the scale of a televison screen versus a tiny smartphone screen), it's good save that screen.
  • Yeah you're right, someone got in touch and explained how the Xbox One's new screen dimmer basically stimulates pixels to not get stuck in a high intensity state. It's cool that Microsoft thought about this.
  • Does anyone know why the text changes to that weird font sometimes in preview builds?
  • @Rem97 That is part of the localization process. They use a pseud-localized text that is possible to read, but makes it easier to identify problems that might show up as a result of translation (such as truncation) and to identify text that might be hard-coded and not localized.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudolocalization#Pseudolocalization_in_M...  
  • Ah that makes sense. Thanks for the detailed reply, much appreciated.
  • Just had this roll out to me and now it is dimming while I watch TV. Yeah, Xbox, I am not using the controller to watch College Gameday because that would be stupid... Don't see an option to turn it off either, just delay it to 60 minutes.