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Feb
26
2014

What is Steam In-Home Streaming?

What is Steam In-Home Streaming?

In just the past few months, Valve has allocated a great deal of resources toward bringing its popular Steam platform into every room in gamers’ homes. Recently, the company introduced its Linux-based Steam Machines, which seek to bring PC gaming into the living room and compete with the console market.

On top of that, Valve is launching Steam In-Home Streaming—which is currently being beta tested—a service that will make any laptop or PC you own capable of streaming and playing all of your favorite Steam games.

On top of that, Valve is launching Steam In-Home Streaming—which is currently being beta tested—a service that will make any laptop or PC you own capable of streaming and playing all of your favorite Steam games.

Setting Up the Service

Getting Steam In-Home Streaming up and running is quite a simple ordeal. First—and somewhat obviously—you’re going to need two computers; whether they are two desktop computers, two laptops, a desktop and a laptops, etc., it doesn’t matter. In fact, they don’t even need to be running the same OS in order to take advantage of the service.

Once you have your two computers ready to go, all you’ll need to do is log into the same Steam account on each computer while connected the same WiFi network. After logging into Steam, you’ll have access to every game/app/program you own on each computer. Seriously, it’s that simple!

Your Games, Anywhere

The benefits of the service are tremendous. For example, want to play a few games of DOTA 2 in bed, but don’t have it installed on your laptop? No sweat. Simply fire up Steam on your desktop (presumably in another room) and your laptop, and you can blast away creeps while you lay comfortably in your bed.

What makes this so exciting is the ability to take your high-end gaming PC with you anywhere in the house. In-Home Streaming will work with any of your laptops—even those you would never image capable of running a high-end game like Metro: Last Light—to ensure that you don’t miss a valuable second of game time, no matter where you are.

Just think about the possibilities. It’s a Sunday afternoon and your favorite football team is about to play a division rival. But, Sunday is the only day you and your buddies play Civilization V online. Your 60-inch, 1080p television is downstairs, and your top-of-the-line gaming desktop in a room upstairs with no television in sight. Tough decision, right? Not with Steam In-Home Streaming! Now, you’ll be able to grab your laptop, stream Civilization V to it, and watch as your team routs the competition.

In-Home Streaming will be crucial to the success of Valve’s upcoming Steam Machines. Currently, the Linux-based SteamOS systems do not natively support Windows-based games, so the ability to stream content across different platforms will ensure that all of your games will be playable in your living room.

The service is an exciting step forward in PC gaming, but there are still a few kinks to work out. Currently, to compensate for latency between the devices (which is an inevitable occurrence when streaming), instead of reducing the image quality, the frame rate is automatically dropped, which can be an issue when playing a fast pace game.

At present, the beta users have the ability to manually adjust the bandwidth between the streaming systems to compensate for this. While it may take some tweaking to get things running smoothly, the service has received overwhelmingly positive feedback so far.

So, does the idea of streaming your games to any Steam-connected device in your home excite you? Have you tried Steam In-Home Streaming and want to share your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!

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