Mac OS: dim other displays while playing a movie

[2009-11-14] apple, hack, computers, mac
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The scenario is obvious: You occasionally connect a projector to your Mac (be it a notebook or a desktop machine). While projecting a movie, the display of the Mac should be dimmed, in order to not distract from the projection. Luckily, the three most important applications for playing movies now support this feature. They allow one to dim when going into full screen mode:

  • DVD Player: Preferences → Full Screen → Dim other displays while playing
  • QuickTime Player 7 (old): Preferences → Full Screen → Background Color → Show on all displays
  • VLC: Preferences → Video → Black screens in Fullscreen mode (should play everything that QuickTime Player can)
Now, even better would be to let unused displays sleep, but this is definitely good enough. If you encounter a program that does not have this feature, you can use Shades as a work-around.

Update 2010-05-28: QuickTime Player 7 – which still comes with Snow Leopard – has the aforementioned preferences. Alas, the current version of it has not.