Valve explains how Steam’s In-Home Streaming will work

XCOM: Enemy Within (hi-res, do not use as featured image)

By on November 25, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Those of you with decent memories will remember that two weeks ago, Valve announced In-Home Streaming for Steam. Designed to allow you to play games on your crappy laptop or HTPC using the grunt of your beefy gaming computer, Valve explained they had been working on homestream for a while and were now getting ready to open the beta to the public.

Unfortunately the beta is not open yet, but before the weekend Valve posted an in depth explanation of the service and what you are likely to require to make it work. Unlike Gaikai or Onlive, homestream will not require a cloud – your game is streamed directly from your gaming computer to the target PC, which then sends back your input – whether it is via a mouse and keyboard or a gamepad.

The service only works between computers – Android and iOS aren’t supported (although it would be crazy not to expect them to be in the future) but it will happily work between different operating systems – in the lead up to Valve’s SteamOS, which is Linux-based, homestream is explained as a way to play currently Windows-only games on a Steambox.

The requirement most likely to cause an issue for people is the networking – to work properly, homestream requires very low latency and Valve suggest, naturally, a wired connection for best results. If you rent the place you live in, be prepared to begin running cables all over the place.

The series is made up of five posts, beginning with this one and they are definitely worth reading through if you’re interested in homestream. And if you haven’t yet signed up for a potential spot in the homestream beta, you can still do so by joining the homestream Steam Group.

Source: In-Home Streaming

9 comments (Leave your own)

If/when this works on my Ouya my life will almost be complete!


Personally I don’t see the appeal, as it will tie up two machines to play….


Which may be the case. The appeal for me is I don’t have to build another hulking, power hungry PC to sit with my HT gear so I can play modern games. And I should also be able to utilise my pre-existing low power, media PC.


So why is there still such a fuss over this? The whole thing is just a wireless adapter for your monitor that costs a shitload.


Personally I don’t see the appeal, as it will tie up two machines to play….

It’s largely for SteamOS – since there’s little AAA Linux support at this point, it bridges the gap. It also means that you can use a lightweight box in the living room with your big, loud gaming rig elsewhere.

So why is there still such a fuss over this? The whole thing is just a wireless adapter for your monitor that costs a shitload.

It’s really not.

I’d really like some more details on this though – this announcement is far from in-depth. Stuff like hardware requirements on the server-side would be extremely useful.


It all depends on if valve are using hardware acceleration for the encoding. If they are, then it should go pretty smoothly for compatible current gen hardware, and maybe 1-2 gens older. If there is no hardware acceleration, then you will likely need a pretty beefy CPU to get good image quality, though you can sacrifice quality (image artifacts and bit starving) for speed if your CPU can’t keep up.

I wonder if valve will also offer capture modes like fraps/OBS as well, as its basically the same thing.


I would like to see Valve eventually implement a Spectator system that will allow you to view any game that your friends are playing on Steam and see what they see without you needing to own the game or have it installed.


Looking forward to this. I can go from my couch main PC to my laptop on the bedroom desk. I’ll figure something out with the cat5, run it along the roof or something.

And hey Nirv, that spectator thing sounds really cool. A step up from twitch because you’re actually watching someone you know and care about. And if they annoy you with their constant chattering then you can hit them over the head next time you see them.



Yeah, you’re right – in my mind I keep mashing this and the shield together, so this entire time I’ve been assuming a GTX 660 would be the baseline, along with a decent i5 and 8gb ram.

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