Steam In-Home Streaming Now Available for All Users

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Steam In-Home Streaming Now Available for All Users

Steam In-home Streaming

Steam's in-home streaming feature has left its beta process and is now up and running for all users.

For some time now Valve has been investing in the goal of making its Steam service and PC games in general, easier and more convenient to use. Arguably at the center of its efforts in turn has been the development of in-home streaming options that would allow Steam users to stream games from their computer of choice to any other PC in the house. Sadly, this feature has only been available to a few select gamers lucky enough to try it as a part of its beta testing.

That, at least, was the case up until today when Valve announced that the beta trials had finally come to its end and that it will be opening in-home streaming to all of its 75 million users. According to an official page urging players to "start streaming today," the feature is now live and accessible via a few easy steps. To use it, all one has to do into two Steam equipped computers on the same network and then "visit your Steam library to start streaming between them."

What remains to be seen now, is just widely gamers use the feature, especially considering some of its negatives. For instance, while in-home streaming can makes it possible for lower tech machines to play games normally outside of their performance level, the process also completely monopolizing the PC being streamed from. Just personally, I love the idea of being able to play more intense PC games without being chained to my computer desk, even if it means rendering another computer useless in the process. What's your take? Will you be using in-home streaming now that it's available, or were you happy playing from the confines of your desk?

Source: Steam

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Now, as a single, virgin, basement dwelling gamer I see no use in this.

On a more serious note, no. When I'm gaming, it's "me time". It's time I spend on my own, sometimes online with my online friends, but it's something that's mine. You know, my corner of the cave, staring at the fire for a while while the other human beings around me get filtered out.

I've been opposing this forced shift to gaming being "social" and "connected" from day one; not that I don't want that to be an option, but it seems the companies are trying to tell us that "social" and "connected" is "t3h futrez!" of gaming.

And to that, I call a big, fat NO.

Unfortunately the only people that this benefits are rich people. Most users won't have enough space in their house (most likely townhouse or even apartment) to even need streaming to another room in the first place. Even then, you still need multiple PCs, so that means you have to have enough disposable income to buy roughly a whole new computer. If you're buying a new PC you might as well just play off of it, because if only 1 PC if strong enough to render good graphics you've really just traded one gaming space for another, instead of making either one an option. If you can play on both PCs, then streaming is a 100% waste.

This would have been awesome for me sometime last year. I ended up buying a surface pro 2 however which can handle anything that I'd want to play anyways and hooks right up to my TV via HDMI. So I can't think of anything I'd want to use this on at the moment, but it's still a pretty great feature to have available.

I actually like the idea, my only questions are how low end/low power can the receiving PC be and can you stream from Windows to Linux? Guess I'll find out this evening, it might just prompt me to build that HTPC I've had planned.

Vegosiux:
On a more serious note, no. When I'm gaming, it's "me time". It's time I spend on my own, sometimes online with my online friends, but it's something that's mine. You know, my corner of the cave, staring at the fire for a while while the other human beings around me get filtered out.

I've been opposing this forced shift to gaming being "social" and "connected" from day one; not that I don't want that to be an option, but it seems the companies are trying to tell us that "social" and "connected" is "t3h futrez!" of gaming.

And to that, I call a big, fat NO.

I don't think you understood what they're going for. In-Home Streaming is a way to play games in another place in your house, such as the living room. It's pulled off by streaming it to any PC with Windows/OS X/Linux/SteamOS. There's really none of that "social/connected" component to it. It's a convenience feature.

MLChanges:
I actually like the idea, my only questions are how low end/low power can the receiving PC be and can you stream from Windows to Linux? Guess I'll find out this evening, it might just prompt me to build that HTPC I've had planned.

The most taxing thing that the client does is decoding the videostream, which can be H.264 or VP8 at a resolution of your choice, usually 1080p or 720p. But this does not mean that a machine that just barely handles YouTube's 1080p streams will do the trick. Steam uses much higher bitrates and faster encoding settings to avoid slowing down your host computer down too much, while maintaining picture quality. The higher bitrates mean higher decoding requirements. If I remember correctly, the bitrate for 1080p was around 15 MBPS, but don't hold me to it. That said, it can be very low-end, but a single-core machine won't cut it.

TiberiusEsuriens:
Even then, you still need multiple PCs, so that means you have to have enough disposable income to buy roughly a whole new computer.

If you already have a TV and a gaming-capable PC, it's really just a ~$150 investment for streaming.

TiberiusEsuriens:
If you can play on both PCs, then streaming is a 100% waste.

Most definitely.

senkus:

I don't think you understood what they're going for. In-Home Streaming is a way to play games in another place in your house, such as the living room. It's pulled off by streaming it to any PC with Windows/OS X/Linux/SteamOS. There's really none of that "social/connected" component to it. It's a convenience feature.

Well, I suppose it could work for "15 minute gaming" I suppose. But the kind of gaming I do, it takes a while, it takes me sitting down and committing to it. The walk to the room in which I do that consists of about 15 seconds at most, and that's if I'm outside.

Vegosiux:
Now, as a single, virgin, basement dwelling gamer I see no use in this.

On a more serious note, no. When I'm gaming, it's "me time". It's time I spend on my own, sometimes online with my online friends, but it's something that's mine. You know, my corner of the cave, staring at the fire for a while while the other human beings around me get filtered out.

I've been opposing this forced shift to gaming being "social" and "connected" from day one; not that I don't want that to be an option, but it seems the companies are trying to tell us that "social" and "connected" is "t3h futrez!" of gaming.

And to that, I call a big, fat NO.

I think you might have misread the article. All this does is let you use one computer's processing power to play games on another, less powerful computer. No more than one person is required.

DaWaffledude:

Vegosiux:
Now, as a single, virgin, basement dwelling gamer I see no use in this.

On a more serious note, no. When I'm gaming, it's "me time". It's time I spend on my own, sometimes online with my online friends, but it's something that's mine. You know, my corner of the cave, staring at the fire for a while while the other human beings around me get filtered out.

I've been opposing this forced shift to gaming being "social" and "connected" from day one; not that I don't want that to be an option, but it seems the companies are trying to tell us that "social" and "connected" is "t3h futrez!" of gaming.

And to that, I call a big, fat NO.

I think you might have misread the article. All this does is let you use one computer's processing power to play games on another, less powerful computer. No more than one person is required.

Well, that's my post just above yours then :)

Really now, does Valve think most of their customers live in sprawling castles, or something?

Vegosiux:
Really now, does Valve think most of their customers live in sprawling castles, or something?

Not sure why someone would need to live in a sprawling castle to enjoy playing some Super Meat Boy, Rogue Legacy, or any number of other controller suited games in the comfort of their living room on the big screen rather than at a desk on a computer.

Vivi22:

Vegosiux:
Really now, does Valve think most of their customers live in sprawling castles, or something?

Not sure why someone would need to live in a sprawling castle to enjoy playing some Super Meat Boy, Rogue Legacy, or any number of other controller suited games in the comfort of their living room on the big screen rather than at a desk on a computer.

Not sure why anyone would need two separate devices to do that...?

I approve this. Now I can stream Far Cry 3 to my craptop and play from the comfort of my toilet.

Unfortunately, my particular situation could simply be solved with a 15 foot HDMI cable and a wireless controller. I might give streaming to my laptop a go though, why not?

Can i stream to a chromecast? That would be something (i doubt it)

thiosk:
Can i stream to a chromecast? That would be something (i doubt it)

If Chromecast ever gets a decent implementation of desktop streaming, it'll be able to do this all on it's own.

But no, this requires Steam be on both computers so Chromecast isn't quite suited for the way it works now.

i guess it could be useful for some XCOM battles before going to sleep, but the last time i tried it during beta it was hopelesssly laggy, they might have improved it now that the feature is out of beta tough

TiberiusEsuriens:
Unfortunately the only people that this benefits are rich people. Most users won't have enough space in their house (most likely townhouse or even apartment) to even need streaming to another room in the first place. Even then, you still need multiple PCs, so that means you have to have enough disposable income to buy roughly a whole new computer. If you're buying a new PC you might as well just play off of it, because if only 1 PC if strong enough to render good graphics you've really just traded one gaming space for another, instead of making either one an option. If you can play on both PCs, then streaming is a 100% waste.

I think you're misinterpreting "rich" and "middle-class" as "uber-rich" and "rich". Or folk like myself who're lower middle-class and thrifty. I've got 3 gaming PC's in my home, one of which I paid for, one I traded for and one I cobbled together with extra parts laying around. I also find awesome deals at auctions, swap-meets and donation centers that resell the donations for charity (supposedly).
But yeah many middle-class families can afford this. Also have you *seen* the amount of iPhones, iPads and other tablets in possession of regular folks? I mean if the rich are a small percentage of the population, you shouldn't see that many expensive gadgets around... they can't all be sittin on a fat stack, that would preclude your notion of only the rich can have nice things.

So I plop steam OS onto a machine that isn't nearly as big as my desktop, hook that up to my TV and now I have the power of my desktop on the 46" television with the speaker system. It seems like this is for the technology savvy but I like it.

Weaver:
Unfortunately, my particular situation could simply be solved with a 15 foot HDMI cable and a wireless controller. I might give streaming to my laptop a go though, why not?

Mine already was with the addition of a wireless keyboard/touchpad combo that is about 6" long (though my HDMI was a 30' one, the 15' made it to the TV, but it was in the way of everything, so I had to opt for the longer option).

As far as my laptop goes, I really can't see any situation where I'd want to play on my laptop. Unless maybe I was bedridden or something, but I think my worries would extend beyond gaming at that point. Really, 90% of the time, my laptop sits right next to my PC monitor incase I need to research something on the fly, while in game, or I get a phone call (my phone comes out of it).

grigjd3:
So I plop steam OS onto a machine that isn't nearly as big as my desktop, hook that up to my TV and now I have the power of my desktop on the 46" television with the speaker system. It seems like this is for the technology savvy but I like it.

I think its one step towards replacement of the windows machine. Theres only one reason I don't use linux-- games. Windows is more than 100 bucks oem!! Only in the last couple years has linux support been a non-joke, but theres a problem with going solid steam-machine linux only as steam is wont to do: backwards compatibility. Your whole library is shot.

HOWEVER.

You can stream that shit.

And stream it we will.

grigjd3:
So I plop steam OS onto a machine that isn't nearly as big as my desktop, hook that up to my TV and now I have the power of my desktop on the 46" television with the speaker system. It seems like this is for the technology savvy but I like it.

You don't need Steam OS on the weak machine, just Steam, much less annoying.

it seems you can also stream non-steam games, now i must admit, thats pretty damn cool

senkus:

I don't think you understood what they're going for. In-Home Streaming is a way to play games in another place in your house, such as the living room. It's pulled off by streaming it to any PC with Windows/OS X/Linux/SteamOS. There's really none of that "social/connected" component to it. It's a convenience feature.

you know what does exactly same thing but much cheaper? frigging cables. It also resutls in better video quality and no extra taxation on your PC.

Nowhere Man:
I approve this. Now I can stream Far Cry 3 to my craptop and play from the comfort of my toilet.

just how much do you spend in your toilet? i never understood how can people game on toilet. i tried it, i was done before the game even begun.
I do like the ability to watch a movie while taking a bath though.

grigjd3:
So I plop steam OS onto a machine that isn't nearly as big as my desktop, hook that up to my TV and now I have the power of my desktop on the 46" television with the speaker system. It seems like this is for the technology savvy but I like it.

alternatively you can just plug a cable from your machine to your TV. Its cheaper, has better video quality, has less input lag and is easier to set up.

thiosk:

I think its one step towards replacement of the windows machine. Theres only one reason I don't use linux-- games. Windows is more than 100 bucks oem!!

who the hell buys OEM windows anyway? you can get windows 7 professional keys for as low as 15 dollars nowadays.

Vegosiux:
Now, as a single, virgin, basement dwelling gamer I see no use in this.

On a more serious note, no. When I'm gaming, it's "me time". It's time I spend on my own, sometimes online with my online friends, but it's something that's mine. You know, my corner of the cave, staring at the fire for a while while the other human beings around me get filtered out.

I've been opposing this forced shift to gaming being "social" and "connected" from day one; not that I don't want that to be an option, but it seems the companies are trying to tell us that "social" and "connected" is "t3h futrez!" of gaming.

And to that, I call a big, fat NO.

Aha. And while you rant about the social aspect I took my shitty laptop I only use for university (that thing struggles with bloody 720p videos), sat on the terasse and streamed Dark Souls 2 perfect from my main rig to enjoy the good weather.

What is social about this?

TheKasp:

Vegosiux:
Now, as a single, virgin, basement dwelling gamer I see no use in this.

On a more serious note, no. When I'm gaming, it's "me time". It's time I spend on my own, sometimes online with my online friends, but it's something that's mine. You know, my corner of the cave, staring at the fire for a while while the other human beings around me get filtered out.

I've been opposing this forced shift to gaming being "social" and "connected" from day one; not that I don't want that to be an option, but it seems the companies are trying to tell us that "social" and "connected" is "t3h futrez!" of gaming.

And to that, I call a big, fat NO.

Aha. And while you rant about the social aspect I took my shitty laptop I only use for university (that thing struggles with bloody 720p videos), sat on the terasse and streamed Dark Souls 2 perfect from my main rig to enjoy the good weather.

What is social about this?

There are people outside.

Now, I suppose you won't be happy with that answer, but I've not slept well and am a little cranky, so I'm suspecting the main point of your post was to point out how I'm just ranting for no good reason, and the question was more or less rhetorical. And you're right, I'm just a bitter old git who's so damn angry at the world that he simply doesn't want anyone to enjoy anything ^^

Vegosiux:

There are people outside.

Now, I suppose you won't be happy with that answer, but I've not slept well and am a little cranky, so I'm suspecting the main point of your post was to point out how I'm just ranting for no good reason, and the question was more or less rhetorical. And you're right, I'm just a bitter old git who's so damn angry at the world that he simply doesn't want anyone to enjoy anything ^^

Eh, my foliage is high enough so that I won't see any of my twat neighbors. Which includes all of them.

My point is just that I have now more mobility when it comes to where I want to play. While I won't engage in DOTA2 matches while being in bed there is nothing stopping me from doint that with more casual games that can be played with a controller.

I tested it with my WLAN in the house. It worked fine with no deleay I experienced. I am quite hyped about this feature if I'm honest.

Strazdas:

senkus:

I don't think you understood what they're going for. In-Home Streaming is a way to play games in another place in your house, such as the living room. It's pulled off by streaming it to any PC with Windows/OS X/Linux/SteamOS. There's really none of that "social/connected" component to it. It's a convenience feature.

you know what does exactly same thing but much cheaper? frigging cables. It also resutls in better video quality and no extra taxation on your PC.

No one is claiming this is the greatest thing ever invented but, come on, you have to concede that it could be useful, right? Sure, I could run wires all over my house, but why bother when I can now just click a couple of buttons and stream the game. I've read that the input lag isn't bad even in an action game, although that depends on your network. I can't see how it'd be a problem at all for a more turn-based game.

I was wondering if one of the other advantages was that the second PC was also acting as a controller extender. I have a wireless 360 pad, but I don't know how far from the dongle I can get. A lot of people use wired controllers (and keyboard and mice). So, how do you deal with that? I'm sure there's a reasonable way to do so, but that doesn't mean that Steam's home streaming thing isn't an ok solution too.

Vegosiux:
Not sure why anyone would need two separate devices to do that...?

The point isn't that someone "needs" two devices; it's just that many, many people have multiple TVs/monitors. It's cool if your PC setup is also your main big screen that you use, but a large number of PC gamers have their desktop at a ... umm ... desk. They have a different room in the house with their big TV. That doesn't require a "sprawling mansion". I actually prefer sitting at a desktop for the majority of gaming that I do, but I can definitely see wanting to sit on the couch and play something like The Walking Dead with my wireless controller. I can do that easily now by hooking up my laptop to my TV and streaming. That's a nice feature, but it's cool that you won't personally be needing it.

This was exactly the type of article I saw and though, "That's a nice, free feature. I wonder how people are going to find a way to dismiss it in the comments". Congrats.

Strazdas:

thiosk:

I think its one step towards replacement of the windows machine. Theres only one reason I don't use linux-- games. Windows is more than 100 bucks oem!!

who the hell buys OEM windows anyway? you can get windows 7 professional keys for as low as 15 dollars nowadays.

Serious question, that's completely legit? Some quick googling indicates that those $15 keys are, at the least, breaking some kind of contract/EULA agreement. Like, they were purchased in bulk - but those licenses are not meant to be transferable. I'm sure they work, and there's no chance MS is going after people who use them, but what's the point of paying someone money if you are still doing soemthing illegal? It's like paying for a counterfeit DVD.

I don't like paying the "Microsoft Tax", but they have the legitimate right to charge what they want for it.

Strazdas:

you know what does exactly same thing but much cheaper? frigging cables. It also resutls in better video quality and no extra taxation on your PC.

I find that feature usefull because I can now use my crappy university laptop in the whole house whenever I want to game (for example outside in the garden). I tested it, WLan streaming is no problem at all across my whole house. Cables, while cheaper, would also require fucking cables everywhere.

It is not a big gamechanging feature but heck, I'm gonna use the fuck out of it.

Clovus:

Strazdas:

senkus:

I don't think you understood what they're going for. In-Home Streaming is a way to play games in another place in your house, such as the living room. It's pulled off by streaming it to any PC with Windows/OS X/Linux/SteamOS. There's really none of that "social/connected" component to it. It's a convenience feature.

you know what does exactly same thing but much cheaper? frigging cables. It also resutls in better video quality and no extra taxation on your PC.

No one is claiming this is the greatest thing ever invented but, come on, you have to concede that it could be useful, right? Sure, I could run wires all over my house, but why bother when I can now just click a couple of buttons and stream the game. I've read that the input lag isn't bad even in an action game, although that depends on your network. I can't see how it'd be a problem at all for a more turn-based game.

I was wondering if one of the other advantages was that the second PC was also acting as a controller extender. I have a wireless 360 pad, but I don't know how far from the dongle I can get. A lot of people use wired controllers (and keyboard and mice). So, how do you deal with that? I'm sure there's a reasonable way to do so, but that doesn't mean that Steam's home streaming thing isn't an ok solution too.

Vegosiux:
Not sure why anyone would need two separate devices to do that...?

The point isn't that someone "needs" two devices; it's just that many, many people have multiple TVs/monitors. It's cool if your PC setup is also your main big screen that you use, but a large number of PC gamers have their desktop at a ... umm ... desk. They have a different room in the house with their big TV. That doesn't require a "sprawling mansion". I actually prefer sitting at a desktop for the majority of gaming that I do, but I can definitely see wanting to sit on the couch and play something like The Walking Dead with my wireless controller. I can do that easily now by hooking up my laptop to my TV and streaming. That's a nice feature, but it's cool that you won't personally be needing it.

This was exactly the type of article I saw and though, "That's a nice, free feature. I wonder how people are going to find a way to dismiss it in the comments". Congrats.

Thanks for calling this out. The whole "just use HDMI-cable"-argument came up from naysayers when Big Picture mode was announced too, and it gets annoying.

HDMI-cables can at BEST reach 15 meters. And those are your premium grade ones, over that, and you'll most likely need a range extender. Buying meters upon meters of HDMI cabling gear is costly, and if you've already got Ethernet cables setup through your house, why cable double again? I already have cabled LAN and a HTPC that can play good old 2D platformer games and stream movies from my main gaming rig in another room. This was setup long before Big Picture and In-home streaming was announced, but it just works so flawlessly.
I've been in the closed beta for some time now, and it's great to be able to play some of the more "console like" games that really work better with a controller and a good couch in front of your TV. I still play my FPS and RTS games with a mouse and keyboard in front of my desktop gaming rig in my room, I still play some of the more fun 2D platformers on my weaker HTPC in my living room, and IF I want to, I can stream the latest 3D AAA games to my living room and just lean back and enjoy the experience.

But no, it's all bad apparently, because reason.

Strazdas:

just how much do you spend in your toilet? i never understood how can people game on toilet. i tried it, i was done before the game even begun.
I do like the ability to watch a movie while taking a bath though.

Hehe. I was totally joking. I don't even keep or bring reading material into my bathroom. But I really dig this feature and have already been taking advantage of it all over the house. Game invites don't seem to work though, my steam overlay bugs out and shows a blank friends list and alt+tabbing doesn't help. Neither does sending the invite from my host computer. Maybe it's just Dead Island or something I'm missing. Also anything with DRM like UPlay is kind of iffy upon launch and/or exiting so the whole thing isn't exactly perfect.

Pretty neat but is it really that hard to have a machine capable of running various games at moderate settings? I certainly don't like the idea of all that streaming rapidly destroying my bandwidth cap....Stupid ATT. At best, I could see myself using it in a out of town hotel situation when using my laptop.....provided the hotel internet doesn't suck. Which it usually does.

antidonkey:
Pretty neat but is it really that hard to have a machine capable of running various games at moderate settings? I certainly don't like the idea of all that streaming rapidly destroying my bandwidth cap....Stupid ATT. At best, I could see myself using it in a out of town hotel situation when using my laptop.....provided the hotel internet doesn't suck. Which it usually does.

You missed the "in home" part of that it sounds like. =P

antidonkey:
Pretty neat but is it really that hard to have a machine capable of running various games at moderate settings? I certainly don't like the idea of all that streaming rapidly destroying my bandwidth cap....Stupid ATT. At best, I could see myself using it in a out of town hotel situation when using my laptop.....provided the hotel internet doesn't suck. Which it usually does.

I see what you mean. As cool as this is now, I can picture in a few years Tom Wheeler casually walking into my house, picking up my laptop mid game in the palm of his hand and smashing it against the far wall of my dining room American Beauty style, then quietly exiting.

kaiserkreb:

antidonkey:
Pretty neat but is it really that hard to have a machine capable of running various games at moderate settings? I certainly don't like the idea of all that streaming rapidly destroying my bandwidth cap....Stupid ATT. At best, I could see myself using it in a out of town hotel situation when using my laptop.....provided the hotel internet doesn't suck. Which it usually does.

You missed the "in home" part of that it sounds like. =P

You would be correct. I blame the cold medicine.
This feature seems very pointless to me. I'm not sure why I'd want to stream from my desktop to my laptop. Admittedly, my couch is pretty comfy but I could always just get a long DVI or HDMI cable if I wanted to hook the PC up to the TV.

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