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Steam In-Home Streaming Now Open to All

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 20 comments

Steam's In-Home Streaming is finally out of beta.

Valve Software announced on Wednesday that In-Home Streaming is now available to all Steam users. The news arrives after the service went into open beta back on May 2, allowing Steam gamers with two or more PCs on the same network to stream games from one to the other. The streaming service is free and built into the Steam client.

"Players who have multiple computers at home can immediately take advantage of the new feature," Valve explains in an email. "When you login to Steam on two computers on the same network, they automatically connect, allowing you to remotely install, launch, and play games as though you were sitting at the remote PC."

Steam's In-Home Streaming is ideal for users who have a gaming PC and a low-end laptop. For instance, customers who purchased Wolfenstein: The New Order can install the adventure shooter on the gaming PC, but play the game on the low-end laptop via streaming across the network. No specific GPU architecture is necessary, unlike Nvidia's Streaming tech.

"Streaming, video and audio are sent through your home network from your high-end gaming PC to another device in your home. From here, your keyboard, mouse, and controller input is sent back to the remote computer," Valve adds.

As reported weeks ago, the PC requirements include a quad-core CPU and a GPU that supports hardware accelerated H264 decoding installed in the host -- the client machine only needs the H264 decoding aspect. To achieve the best experience, Valve recommends a wired connection, but does note that some people have had great success with Wireless N and Wireless AC connections. The streaming experience can also be improved by lowering the resolution and turning off vertical sync on the host computer.

"In the In-Home Streaming settings you can change a number of things that can affect your experience. You can change your preference for speed vs quality, limit the network bandwidth, and adjust the maximum capture resolution," states the FAQ.

To get In-Game Streaming to work, simply load up Steam on two computers and sign in to both, then load up your Steam library – that's it. Steam's In-Home Streaming client can be used on Windows, Mac OS X, Steam OS and Linux. However, for now, you can only use Windows to play host; support for the other three platforms is coming soon.

Add your comment Display 20 Comments.
  • 0 Hide
    photonboy , May 21, 2014 6:20 PM
    I think you mean an ENCODER in the host such as NVidia's NVENC.

    The video stream is ENCODED and sent through the local net then DECODED on the client.
  • 1 Hide
    TUF Enforcer , May 21, 2014 10:35 PM
    This is awesome! I always wanted to play demanding games on my laptop.
    I will try this when I get home.
    If only I could stream it to my office pc hahaha.
  • 1 Hide
    RupertJr , May 22, 2014 5:18 AM
    This is great! Bye bye NVidia!
  • 1 Hide
    joebakb , May 22, 2014 7:04 AM
    I tested the beta for this out not long ago and it worked nearly flawlessly for every game that I tried (from Windows PC to custom built steambox). One of the big thing that needs to happen is steam needs to be able to keep the pc from sleeping or locking by itself instead of having to change system settings. Otherwise, I couldn't be happier with it!
  • 1 Hide
    T-Bag , May 22, 2014 7:20 AM
    Wow. This sounds great. Just got notified by Steam to restart the client. Now, I need to test it.
  • 0 Hide
    Vlad Rose , May 22, 2014 9:10 AM
    To those who have tried this: Does this just work for Steam specific games, or will non-steam games added to the client work as well? Also, do you log into both machines with the same Steam account?
  • 0 Hide
    antilycus , May 22, 2014 9:29 AM
    ALLLLLMOST able to ditch my windows machines....
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , May 22, 2014 10:04 AM
    My ass may never leave the sofa
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , May 22, 2014 1:44 PM
    Quote:
    To those who have tried this: Does this just work for Steam specific games, or will non-steam games added to the client work as well? Also, do you log into both machines with the same Steam account?


    Non steam games are not officially supported, but many should work. Any game that needs elevated permissions(looking at all those "free" mmo). would need Steam to run as admin to even have a chance.

    I streamed my desktop for the hell of it. Not that great but it worked.

    Yes, you login to steam with your account on both systems.

    If you have an Intel SB or newer cpu, you can use quick sync(to do the encoding) if you have a monitor or fake monitor connected to the onboard video as well.

    EDIT.

    Also for the time it is limited to 2 channel audio but the down-mix works properly.
  • 0 Hide
    Vlad Rose , May 22, 2014 2:12 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    To those who have tried this: Does this just work for Steam specific games, or will non-steam games added to the client work as well? Also, do you log into both machines with the same Steam account?


    Non steam games are not officially supported, but many should work. Any game that needs elevated permissions(looking at all those "free" mmo). would need Steam to run as admin to even have a chance.

    I streamed my desktop for the hell of it. Not that great but it worked.

    Yes, you login to steam with your account on both systems.

    If you have an Intel SB or newer cpu, you can use quick sync(to do the encoding) if you have a monitor or fake monitor connected to the onboard video as well.

    EDIT.

    Also for the time it is limited to 2 channel audio but the down-mix works properly.


    That's cool, especially with the quick sync feature. :)  Any chance of Tom's Hardware doing an article of how to setup Steam streaming using quick sync and a fake monitor?
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , May 22, 2014 5:31 PM
    This is a guide from a program maker to get Quick Sync to work without a screen on the onboard video. It seems to work.

    http://mirillis.com/en/products/tutorials/action-tutorial-intel-quick-sync-setup_for_desktops.html

    Will test it quick, but it seems like it would work. I recommend setting this extra screen to be off to one of the corners you do not use so you can avoid loosing your mouse.

    EDIT.

    Tested and it works.

    So all you need to do is enable the onboard gpu
    perform that little trick and the rest is just down to instructions on the steam website. It is not perfect and I am sure it will get better over time.
  • 0 Hide
    photonboy , May 23, 2014 12:08 AM
    Had problems.
    HOST PC: GTX680, i7-3770K, Windows 8.1 64-bit

    CLIENT PC: i5-4670K (HD4600 iGPU), Windows 8.1 64-bit

    Network: Etherernet (no wireless)

    Aliens vs Predator: 60FPS @1920x1080

    Devil May Cry (latest): fluctuating frame rate

    Borderlands 2: fluctuating framerate

    Tried playing with the settings to allow MAX BANDWIDTH and it got even worse. Not sure where the problem is, should not be a bandwidth issue as I can copy a video file to my WDMYCLOUD at 60MB/second.

    **HOST system couldn't get out of BIG PICTURE mode either once I shut down the client. Not even Alt-Tab or CTRL-ALT-DEL. Had to push the power button.

    ***Perfect to put a laptop in front of my TV once it works (will use Ethernet as it's handy).
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , May 23, 2014 5:15 AM
    You should be able to see on screen stats with a setting enabled. It may help pinpoint it.

    According to Valve the higher bit rates are in fact harder. I figured lower compression would be more easy, but the high bit rates DO look better.

    You can try to either place a screen on your onboard video or use the trick from mirillis(just the first google guide to it) to fake a screen on the onboard video. This should allow Quick Sync to help with the encoding.

    Please note that some games seemed to skip when panning and upon playing a game on onboard it becomes apparent that the skips are actually a what seems to be a frame going backwards a frame and them resuming how it should.

    I generally can not see this being a network issue since like you I am running gigabit and have seen transfers as fast as about 115 megabytes a second between the 2 systems.

    This leaves me thinking it is a decoder issue or encoding issue.
  • 0 Hide
    dloadfree , May 23, 2014 5:42 AM
    good steam at http://dloadfree.com
  • 0 Hide
    Vlad Rose , May 23, 2014 9:14 AM
    Quote:
    This is a guide from a program maker to get Quick Sync to work without a screen on the onboard video. It seems to work.

    http://mirillis.com/en/products/tutorials/action-tutorial-intel-quick-sync-setup_for_desktops.html

    Will test it quick, but it seems like it would work. I recommend setting this extra screen to be off to one of the corners you do not use so you can avoid loosing your mouse.

    EDIT.

    Tested and it works.

    So all you need to do is enable the onboard gpu
    perform that little trick and the rest is just down to instructions on the steam website. It is not perfect and I am sure it will get better over time.


    Awesomeness. :)  I can't wait to try this out with my i5 desktop and netbook ... lol
  • 0 Hide
    scritty , May 26, 2014 12:41 PM
    Pretty good most of the time - but gets laggy (network lag - not processing lag).
    Better than using my old laptop to play the games itself - as I couldn't play most of them - but I still notice the lag in some games which is enough to put me off playing with this method and just using my main PC. Not sure how Steam improving their client over time will solve my networks lag. Is that even possible?
  • 1 Hide
    nukemaster , May 26, 2014 12:44 PM
    Network lag should be minimal on a local network.

    Like you it is noticeable however.

    I wonder if in a controller with slower action if it is less noticeable or not.
  • 0 Hide
    scritty , May 26, 2014 1:05 PM
    Maybe? Good point.
    In some games I don't notice it - or it just doesn't matter because the game is not a "twitch/reaction" type game, but in some games it is a PITA. I'll do some more testing though :) 
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , May 26, 2014 3:40 PM
    I actually used the host computers keyboard and mouse(so if you have a long range wireless set or long usb cable :)  ) and it seemed better.

    This makes sense seeing as your inputs have to be sent to the host(delay) and then you have to wait for the action to happen (more delay).

    For fun, give it a shot.

    Again. In home streaming still has some bugs to work out for sure and it tanks performance on some games currently(much better if you have a supported Intel onboard video card to do some of the lifting.).

    I noticed in some games it almost seemed like when moving side to side with the mouse, a skip would occur, but it looked like the game goes backwards a frame or 2 and then keeps running normal. This could be a decoding issue. I have to test on more systems.

    The other thing was the default settings looked quite compressed so pushing the bandwidth is another good idea.
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , May 28, 2014 6:40 PM
    New update today. Seems to have removed most of the skipping/backward frame issue I was seeing on my test system.

    Soon as they add ShadowPlay it will be great :)  Quick sync still works good.
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