ScreenPlay is an upcoming program that lets you set videos as your desktop background

Mar 26, 2021
Software, Windows software

Wallpapers add a nice personal touch to your desktop. We have seen different ways to set custom backgrounds, including random images, videos and live wallpapers.

ScreenPlay is an upcoming program that lets you set videos as your desktop background

ScreenPlay is a freeware program that offers all three options. This is a Steam app, so you'll need to install the game store's client to use it.

The wallpaper program is community-driven, aka it relies on the Steam Workshop to fetch user-made content. Click on the browse Steam Workshop button, and the application loads a bunch of pictures.

ScreenPlay Steam Workshop

Warning: Some of the backgrounds hosted at the Steam Workshop have mature content (NSFW). That's not ScreenPlay's fault since those are user-made content, but I wanted to give you a heads-up about it in case you're going to use it on an office machine, or have kids around.

ScreenPlay select wallpaper

The media is ranked by trend, click on the drop-down menu to the right and change the sorting behavior. Use the search bar to find specific content. The program displays thumbnails, and click on one opens a sidebar which has some information about the media, such as the tags, number of subscribers, the file size, and a shortcut to the item's Steam Workshop page. You may upload your own creations to the Workshop, and contribute to the community database, to do this click on the first tab in ScreenPlay's interface.

ScreenPlay create wallpaper

To add an image to your collection, hit the subscribe button. Subscribing doesn't cost a thing, it just gives you access to the selected Workshop item. To view your subscriptions, click on the "Installed" toolbar option. ScreenPlay categorizes the content in 3 ways: Scenes, Videos, and Widgets.

ScreenPlay homescreen

Scenes are basically wallpapers and live wallpapers. Videos are animated backgrounds, with sound effects. So, how do you set a wallpaper in ScreenPlay? Select it from the Installed tab, and a side-bar pops on the right edge of the window. It displays all available monitors, along with the screen resolution.

ScreenPlay settings

ScreenPlay has a tray icon, right-click on it to mute the audio, or to pause the live wallpaper. You may close the program from its tray menu. The application is set to auto-start with Windows by default, you can toggle this behavior from the Settings page. I recommend disabling the anonymous telemetry for your own privacy.

ScreenPlay desktopwallpaper

ScreenPlay is an open source application, and requires about 361MB of space on your hard drive. Once you've set up the program, you don't need Steam running in the background. The biggest flaw right now is its library, there are just under 150 wallpapers to choose from, and that is not exactly impressive. There aren't a lot of genres available right now, and a couple of images were low quality screenshot uploads. I think ScreenPlay's workshop needs to be curated properly. It definitely needs filters for genres, and an option to hide mature content. I couldn't find any widgets on the store, maybe that's because ScreenPlay is a new application.

In its current state and even for the price of free, I wouldn't really call ScreenPlay a proper alternative for Wallpaper Engine, it is nowhere close to the latter, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

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  1. YEWp said on April 11, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    Or use VLC to set a video as desktop wallpaper.

  2. beemeup5 said on April 10, 2021 at 4:43 am

    Does no one remember Windows DreamScene from Windows Vista? I especially liked the moving wallpaper with the grass swaying in the wind It was very relaxing. It was arguably the coolest thing to come with Windows Vista. It was removed in Windows 7 but there was a way to hack it back in.

  3. Simon said on March 28, 2021 at 12:59 am

    Wow, so much negativity about this. Kinda sad. This is just another way to add some joy, have a bit of fun along the way.
    I’ve shot ocean and beach videos, and used them as (silent) wallpaper, and it’s just relaxing to have them there to occasionally glance at while grinding away. Or, I also stream (silent) live animal and aquarium webcams from YouTube, by loading the URLs into the programs. And the resources used are negligible. If you want to avoid steam, a low cost (<$10) one that loads videos OR urls (there's tons of decent material on YouTube) is Push Video Wallpaper.

  4. Steve said on March 27, 2021 at 6:54 am

    Way to make your computer slower or your electric bill higher if you will.

    But hey, if you have a “512-core CPU” or your steal electricity from your neighbor, then it is no biggie. Or maybe I am getting old.

  5. JacareDTR said on March 26, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    who da hell puts videos as a desktop background?

  6. Zelanium said on March 26, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    You really could have put in the title that it’s a Steam app, not in the second paragraph…

  7. ddk said on March 26, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Lively Wallpaper is just so much better than any alternatives out there.
    Steam sucks big time, either had issues with passwords not recognized or content unavailable.
    Would constantly get the “not found” page. Plus it’s a resource hog.

    Uninstalled after a few hours of dealing with that mess.

    1. DrKnow said on March 27, 2021 at 10:04 pm


      Considering the number of users Steam has, I’d say the issues are with you.

      Steam completely revolutionized the gaming market.

  8. Dumbledalf said on March 26, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    Reminds me of the animated aquarium screensavers and animated mouse cursors of the early 2000s – completely pointless. With Windows 10’s reduced visual customization and people outright not caring about how their OS looks like, I fail to see what audience this software targets.

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