SteamOS Game Streaming Detailed, Beta Test Planned

Nov 22, 2013 by  

Steam Machine Streaming Details

Although Valve’s Steam Machines are in the early stages of testing, gamers are already anxious to see what types of “home consoles” the company is hard at work on. And while Valve is typically one for secrecy, they have been much more forthcoming with Steam Machine and SteamOS details.

The latest on Steam Machines comes courtesy of a Q&A with Valve, in which they further explain the capabilities of the devices. Additionally, Valve reveals that while the SteamOS’ in-home streaming feature will be a useful one, it does have a major caveat.

As Valve explains, those who take advantage of the SteamOS in-home streaming feature will be able to access their Steam library from several devices, like a secondary PC connected to a TV, a Steam Machine, or even a less-powerful computer like a MacBook. However, while in-home streaming is active, the PC from which the content is being streamed will be inactive. In other words, streaming with SteamOS takes your gaming rig out of commission.

While a slight inconvenience, it makes sense that Valve would want to discourage gamers from using their gaming rig while streaming to another device. The PS4, for example, works in a similar fashion when streaming through Remote Play – gamers can only access the console directly or through a Vita handheld not both.

The good news about in-home streaming, though, is that the streaming device needs only be connected to the same network as the gaming PC and not to a central server as well. Hopefully that means streaming quality will be the highest possible through this route. Nothing is worse than a lag-filled stream, especially in a game that requires precision and speed.

To help test out different systems, Valve intends to run a beta for SteamOS that will offer all of the Linux-based platform‘s feature-set to users. The beta will also feel out demand for the platform, letting Valve know how strong the potential Steam Machine market might be.

For Steam Machines, however, in-home streaming is only one of the major appeals of the device. If all goes according to Valve’s plan, gamers will be able to access a Linux-based platform at an affordable price. Prototypes are out in the wild as we speak, so it shouldn’t be long before more Steam Machine-related details start hitting.

How do you feel about game streaming locking you out of your gaming rig? Does this impact the appeal of the feature?


Source: Valve

Tags: PC, Steam, Valve


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  1. I mean, I can only be at one place at one time anyway… It’s not like I would be streaming a game to the Steam Machine AND be at my PC to play a game at the same time anyway…

  2. I am not a gamer but I am very interested in this project. I hope it helps Linux adaption as a desktop OS so more manufacturers will expect me to run this on hardware they sell. I use xfce and OS X and I don’t have a lot of complaints about either. I would like to see more drivers in the repos though. I am going to buy a SteamOS just to support the effort and I am hoping I will be able to get it in the form of a laptop.

  3. couldnt i just play on my gaming pc? i fail to see much use in this service…can someone explain the attraction? because i am confused

    • Well, some people seem to like to sit on a couch and play games with a controller. And those same people seem to not know how to connect your PC to your HDTV and buy a Xbox controller for your PC to play games with, so here is the Steam Box.

      • nonsense, and very short-sighted.. I have a dual GPU gaming rig sitting on my desk. Problem is, that desk is on another floor and there is no way I’m having a big old Lian-Li case somewhere in my living room. I want to play an fps game sitting at my desk with my headphones on, but I also want to play a racing game over 5.1 surround with a controller. Until now, that meant I had to have to systems: one in the living room, and one in my study. Both had to be capable enough to play the latest games and are thus expensive. With Valve OS, I can have one big gaming rig, while my near silent, low powered htpc streams my game to my TV. Excellent.

        • Or have an HDMI port going from upstairs to downstairs… I know not everyone has that, I put that in myself. :-P

          But I never use that anyway. I guess I’m selfish, both my PC and my HDTV are in my room… My downstairs TV is an old Sony Wega…

        • Let me ask you since you have one, what is the deal with Lian Li cases? Everytime I see one on newegg or whatever, I just see a really expensive case that uses proprietary everything, even proprietary thumb screws you even the cheap generic thumb screws will not work… I really don’t understand it, lol. Do they do anything special? Like, I don’t know, I would give an example but I can’t think of something a case can do other than house your components, so you tell me I guess. Anyway, not that I’m in the market for a case anyway, I’m still using this aluminum case I bought for $10 like 10 years ago, lol. Customized it with filtered fan ports, never have to worry about dust in my PC. :-)

          (I customize everything in case you haven’t noticed…)

          • I like the finish and the size. The aluminium looks very good and I like how it’s big, without looking too flashy. I could put a 360mm and 240mm radiator inside without modding anything.
            Mine is a PC-A77F. I had an Antec Performance One (first version) before that and completely hacked it up for my fully internal water cooling setup. When I got bored with that case, I came across the Lian Li fairly cheap. It’s up for sale now. My water cooling and overclocking days are behind me, and I bought a Fractal Define R4 this weekend.

          • @Ed

            Yah, there really is no need for water cooling now, unless noise is an issue with you. But the new processors run much cooler than the older technology. I find that the stock fan and heatsink work just fine unless you’re planning on overclocking, which as of right now I have no need for. But maybe in the future… I guess for me, I’m a “whatever works” kind of guy. I never “get bored” of my case because to me, that is something I don’t ever really see. I mean, I see it, but it’s not something I would actively look at, so it doesn’t bother me that it’s the same from a decade ago, lol.

    • It is because of Windows and Mac’s movement to a more closed environment. Programs can be potentially locked out of Windows and Mac, and Steam could be one of those locked out programs. If Steam is locked out of Windows, Valve won’t make money, so they create SteamOS

      Steam Machine, on the other hand, is a prebuilt PC basically, but is expected to be nothing as expensive as, say, an Alienware, with the same specs. Also looks like a console, so lazy peasants wouldn’t have to search for parts/prices themselves. It is also upgradeable, really, it’s just a PC posing as a console.

      • Alienware is so overpriced. Especially now that they are owned by Dell, they are just really expensive Dells. The Dell XPS line is basically an Alienware without the added price…

        • I guess why does the steam box need all that power? Does it act add the PC as it streams err what

          • @Daniel

            The streaming is just one feature. They are said to actually run games as well.

          • from what i understand is that was the big catch was the streaming. what i hoped it would be is a high end mini comp i can outsource my pc gaming to and for cheaper.

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