Valve explains plans for in-home streaming of Steam

Steam in-home streaming

If you don’t have a giant raincloud sat in your house, then you’re out of luck.

A series of articles have just gone up on Valve’s ‘homestream’ Steam group (spotted by NeoGaf,) about how the company is aiming to tackle in-home streaming. This feature will allow people to stream games between any two computers in the house, providing your home network is up to the task. You’d be able to stream a Windows title to a (Linux-based) SteamOS box, or a graphics heavy title from a fat rig to a weedy laptop.

Responsiveness and network latency obviously have major roles to play in any sort of streaming of this kind. Valve handily summerises responsiveness as follows: “the total round trip delay, or latency, between an action (pressing the fire button on a game controller) and seeing the result of that action (gun firing on the screen.)” Naturally, anyone streaming a game wants this delay to be as minimal as possible.

Basically, a wired network or a ‘good’ wireless network with minimal distance between computers are the ideals. This article goes into more detail about the problems which arise once the wireless signal begins to struggle.

Valve says it is still in the “early stages” of testing in-home streaming, but invites people who want to get involved to join the In-Home Streaming group on Steam and notes to watch out for a beta that will be “coming soon” to Steam. An additional Q&A is also available to read.

Given the company’s interest in in-home streaming, it seems a safe bet that at least one of the Steam Machine/SteamBox options will be a low-cost ‘receiver’ for those who just want to stream from a more powerful PC that they already have set up elsewhere in the house.

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  • sorudo

    or simply get off your lazy ass and actually stream it directly from your PC to your TV/speakers, the controller is already quite powerful so there is no excuse for that.

    so you ether waste allot of money on something so useless or simply buy some cables and do the same thing 10X cheaper and faster.

  • nasarius

    Everything Valve is doing for the living room PC seems to also benefit my occasional use case of a laptop in bed. Mine only has a weak Intel GPU, which feels like it’s going to melt when I throw relatively modern games at it, even at the lowest settings.

    Given sufficiently reliable wifi (I’m looking at sub-5ms ping times on an 802.11n network), I should be able to stream games in high quality from my desktop PC, and without catching the bed on fire. Very exciting.