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Steam Game Streaming is Now in Open Beta

By - Source: Valve Software | B 0 comment

Valve Software updated the Steam In-Home Streaming group page with news that the service is now in open beta. To get this feature up and running, Steam gamers will need to opt into the program and download the Steam beta client dated April 30 or later.  

For the uninitiated, Steam gamers can get into this beta by going to Steam/Settings in the Steam client. The Beta Participation section will alert the gamer to all beta programs that are underway, or if the gamer is currently enrolled with one of them.

Next, click on the Change button in the client participation section and select one of the choices available. After that, click OK and then restart the Steam client when prompted. Users are requested to read the release notes before joining a beta test.

The new Stream service is great for gamers who have two computers on the same network, particularly those with one gaming machine and one low-end laptop. That means you can leave the gaming rig locked away in a bedroom, whip out a laptop with HDMI connectivity, and hook it up to the living room TV for big screen action.

"A Windows only game could be streamed from a Windows PC to a Steam Machine running Linux in the living room," states Valve's description. "A graphically intensive game could be streamed from a beefy gaming rig in the office to your low powered laptop that you are using in bed. You could even start a game on one computer and move to a more comfortable location and continue playing it there."

The open beta also means that the Steam client isn't locked to just one computer; you can have Steam logged in and open on multiple machines. That means you can chat with your friends on one computer without having to log off on the other.

As an example of this service, I have Dishonored installed on my AMD gaming machine, but not on my Lenovo convertible notebook. The game is lit up on both machines, but when I choose the laptop, I either have a Stream button in the main panel, or an "install on the machine" button. The same holds true for games installed on the laptop, but not the gaming rig.

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. For 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.

"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.

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  • 5 Hide
    s3anister , May 2, 2014 5:50 PM
    Wow this is pretty incredible. Now I can finally buy a mid-range laptop without a dedicated GPU and just stream games from my workstation.
  • 1 Hide
    Leamon , May 2, 2014 6:12 PM
    YES! I am burning that ISO as I type!
  • 1 Hide
    starmajoris , May 2, 2014 6:48 PM
    This is great. I'm turning on the beta features .... WON!
  • Display all 19 comments.
  • -3 Hide
    tom10167 , May 2, 2014 8:14 PM
    Steam Beta? I wince to think of an even less reliable version of Steam.
  • 3 Hide
    Platinum Era , May 2, 2014 10:03 PM
    This is pretty neat. I would love to see "out of home" streaming capabilities a la Shield when the beta is complete.
  • -8 Hide
    Lord Darren , May 2, 2014 11:49 PM
    Hmm, so you invest in a top quality gaming rig for the optimal experience. Then, when steam streaming debuts, you all stuff your quality rigs in the closet and the proceed whip out your crappy little 15" laptops so you can play a game propped up uncomfortably in bed?

    I guess true innovation is dead.
  • 3 Hide
    undercovernerd6 , May 3, 2014 1:38 AM
    No need to hate lord d. The marketing is called Convenience. Say some buddies came over u don't own a ps4 , you stream this to your living room cause you have an office or nook. Then u can play some games with them
  • 0 Hide
    undercovernerd6 , May 3, 2014 2:04 AM
    No need to hate lord d. The marketing is called Convenience. Say some buddies came over u don't own a ps4 , you stream this to your living room cause you have an office or nook. Then u can play some games with them
  • 0 Hide
    David Dewis , May 3, 2014 4:38 AM
    I tried this a while back to play my steam games on my projector. Works. Well, but there is lag and although it's not bad enough to ruin the gameplay on a game like batman Arkham city, gamers playing online, like call of duty, may find the delay more noticeable.
  • -3 Hide
    Lord Darren , May 3, 2014 10:55 AM
    Quote:
    No need to hate lord d. The marketing is called Convenience. Say some buddies came over u don't own a ps4 , you stream this to your living room cause you have an office or nook. Then u can play some games with them


    I'm not hating, just pointing out that practical use cases for Steam streaming are scarce. You point out a plausible scenario but even then, there aren't all that many games on steam which support local multiplayer.

  • 2 Hide
    rakadedo , May 3, 2014 12:26 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    No need to hate lord d. The marketing is called Convenience. Say some buddies came over u don't own a ps4 , you stream this to your living room cause you have an office or nook. Then u can play some games with them


    I'm not hating, just pointing out that practical use cases for Steam streaming are scarce. You point out a plausible scenario but even then, there aren't all that many games on steam which support local multiplayer.



    It's true, there's only 88 games on Steam right now using the Local Co-op tag...
    Additionally the vast majority of gamers with a powerful desktop have at least another computer (weak/old desktop, or laptop) in the house. What's to dislike about adding functionality to those computers?
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , May 3, 2014 2:33 PM
    So this is similar to remote desktop right? Could someone just use Microsoft remote desktop to login to their desktop from their laptop? Maybe Microsoft's solution has too much lag and Steam's system is better
  • -3 Hide
    Lord Darren , May 3, 2014 4:25 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:


    I'm not hating, just pointing out that practical use cases for Steam streaming are scarce. You point out a plausible scenario but even then, there aren't all that many games on steam which support local multiplayer.



    It's true, there's only 88 games on Steam right now using the Local Co-op tag...
    Additionally the vast majority of gamers with a powerful desktop have at least another computer (weak/old desktop, or laptop) in the house. What's to dislike about adding functionality to those computers?


    Yeah and to put some perspective on that; there are 4,147 games that are under $10, nevermind mainstread titles. What you are looking at is an extremely niche market.

    Playing streamed CoD on a laptop isn't exactly productive or even playable without additional accessories. The limited number of practical use case scenarios can hardly justify the R&D unless Steam felt they simply needed to compete against nvidia shield just because.

    I'm not against the idea, I'm just of the mindset that their resources could have been put to better use elsewhere but hey, streaming everything under the sun seems to be a big fad right now so why not games too. Just because. :p 
  • 1 Hide
    wbrice83186 , May 3, 2014 6:07 PM
    I don't think you guys are the target demographic. I have a mid-range gaming rig as well as a laptop with integrated graphics that I use for school. I love the idea of being able to play decent games on a more "intimate" screen (Dead Space with headphones in my room or something) and still allowing my son to play Garry's Mod on the gaming rig. Now I won't have to chose between kicking my son off or playing only Quake 2. I love this idea, and I think I'll use it a lot!
  • 0 Hide
    brandonjclark , May 4, 2014 9:10 AM
    Valve, sell an HDMI dongle as the streaming client!
  • 2 Hide
    mgolus , May 4, 2014 1:40 PM
    Quote:
    I don't think you guys are the target demographic. I have a mid-range gaming rig as well as a laptop with integrated graphics that I use for school. I love the idea of being able to play decent games on a more "intimate" screen (Dead Space with headphones in my room or something) and still allowing my son to play Garry's Mod on the gaming rig. Now I won't have to chose between kicking my son off or playing only Quake 2. I love this idea, and I think I'll use it a lot!


    Unfortunately, that's not quite the way it works. Once you are streaming from the host "gaming" machine, you cannot do anything else on that machine. This quote is from another article about the tech:

    "Once you launch a game to stream, the game takes over both the server PC and the client. That means that you can't connect multiple clients to one gaming PC and expect to play more than one game at a time. As it is right now, you can't even do lighter tasks, like watching video or browsing the web on the machine that's actually rendering the game."
  • 0 Hide
    David Dewis , May 4, 2014 11:50 PM
    I am afraid that mgolus is right. When your main computer is streaming to a second computer, the main computer is completely unusable for any other task. In fact the game you are streaming will run at full screen on both the main computer and the second computer. You can even control the game on both.
  • 2 Hide
    tarheelfan , May 5, 2014 7:55 AM
    I think the few people discussing this article are missing the "big" picture (pun intended). This service could be a killer feature for playing games on the TV. Assuming the latency and input lag isn't too bad, I would love to hook a laptop or mini-ITX computer up my 42" Plasma to play some Steam games with a controller. Especially if it means I don't have to put a hot, expensive and potentially loud computer in my living room where my 2-year old son plays often.

    If Microsoft or Sony were able to work out a deal with Steam to have a Steam app capable of streaming, the console wars would officially be over if one of them could lock up an exclusive deal.
  • 0 Hide
    David Dewis , May 5, 2014 10:42 AM
    Quote:
    I think the few people discussing this article are missing the "big" picture (pun intended). This service could be a killer feature for playing games on the TV. Assuming the latency and input lag isn't too bad, I would love to hook a laptop or mini-ITX computer up my 42" Plasma to play some Steam games with a controller. Especially if it means I don't have to put a hot, expensive and potentially loud computer in my living room where my 2-year old son plays often.

    If Microsoft or Sony were able to work out a deal with Steam to have a Steam app capable of streaming, the console wars would officially be over if one of them could lock up an exclusive deal.


    I think it would be better suited to a device the size of chromcast or Apple TV. I already have an ITX build under my TV with an Xbox controller. For me it made more sense to spend a bit extra for a GPU seeing as i already had a box with enough space to handle one, and have a decent gaming experience, rather than use streaming which can be laggy, doesn't run at high fps and is susceptible to interference. Its nice feature to have, and it will have its users, but i can see streaming only appealing to enthusiasts who have built their own powerful PCs, and unless they're wanting to game on a laptop or or a Brix type PC, most enthusiasts are going to want to build a decent standalone ITX PC. The fact that the streaming PC becomes unusable when its streaming for me is a big enough draw back to warrant building the 2nd PC with enough power to play games independently.