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  1. #1
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    Steam In-Home Streaming Beta

    Anyone else got a Beta invite and trying it out?

    I did a quick test on my HTPC (E8550, AMD 6850, Win8) wired to an Asus AC 68U router.

    Fiddling with some of the settings, XCom EU would run good at 1280x720 capture resolution, 60fps, bandwidth setting unlimited. I also was using a wireless 360 controller.

    The beta has a built in stat tracker so you can easily look at locks and possibly see why you get any stutters are certain points.


    I plan to test Batman and Space Marine later on (once installed on my main PC).




    Another thing, being able to stayed logged in into Steam on separate systems at the same time!

  2. #2
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    Oh wow I wouldn't have noticed the email if I hadn't seen this thread. I'll go test streaming to a Mac laptop, assuming that's already supported.

    It's surprisingly painless to set up, with only the slightest bit of noticeable lag even over my somewhat flaky WiFi. And even if you don't care about streaming, you can now be logged into Steam on multiple devices. Finally.

    I'd strongly recommend reconfiguring each game to run at the resolution of the computer you're streaming to. The difference is particularly obvious in a UI-heavy game like Football Manager. Looks much better than a scaled down 1080p, and I assume it's a bit faster as well.

    Tragically, I can't get my Xbox 360 controller to work with Recettear, though it works fine with Super Meat Boy and Skyrim and Deus Ex: HR. And GTA4 crashes on startup.

    I worked around the Recettear issue by using Joystick Mapper (on the Mac end) to translate gamepad inputs into the appropriate keyboard keys. Good enough for me.
    Last edited by Nasarius; 24-01-2014 at 04:59 AM.

  3. #3
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    Serious Sam 3 BFE worked well at 720p capture. It decided to go 30fps instead of 60fps but was 95% smooth with a controller. It was running on Ultra.

    HTPC does not have wireless but our new laptop of course does. And it has better specs (i7, 765m). Wanted to see how well wireless works. To bad the it did not come with AC, since my new router supports it.

  4. #4
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    Must try this wen I get at home.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus neema_t's Avatar
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    How can I get in on this beta? Or at least stand a chance of getting in to it. I've been testing game streaming around my house using an Ouya, Kainy, Splashtop and a Raspberry Pi USB server... It's all quite hacky and none of it works as well as it would if I could get access to my graphics card's H.264 encoder, so I'm very interested to see how Steam's streaming feature compares.

  6. #6
    Obscure Node fco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neema_t View Post
    How can I get in on this beta? Or at least stand a chance of getting in to it. I've been testing game streaming around my house using an Ouya, Kainy, Splashtop and a Raspberry Pi USB server... It's all quite hacky and none of it works as well as it would if I could get access to my graphics card's H.264 encoder, so I'm very interested to see how Steam's streaming feature compares.
    You must be part of the Steam In-Home Streaming group (http://steamcommunity.com/groups/homestream).

    I was happy to get the invite, only to realize then that i've never cared to add a wifi adapter to my big old PC. Any suggestions on which one I should buy?
    Last edited by fco; 24-01-2014 at 04:11 PM. Reason: group. group.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fco View Post
    I was happy to get the invite, only to realize then that i've never cared to add a wifi adapter to my big old PC. Any suggestions on which one I should buy?
    Is powerline not an option?

  8. #8
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    I've spent a few more hours streaming various games, and while it definitely has some rough edges which you'd expect from a beta, I'm still very impressed.

    Streaming over WiFi is definitely not good enough for Super Meat Boy, but it does work well for Spelunky. That kinda says it all. It's appropriate for anything that doesn't require precise timing and can tolerate the occasional lag spike. Haven't had a chance to test over a wired network yet, but again Super Meat Boy is the gold standard to aim for. If it can handle that game well, it can handle anything.

  9. #9
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    I agree, anything with a requirement for timing/precision may suffer.

    Pool Nation is great though while streaming. That game with all visuals dialed down is NASTY - lol.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus neema_t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gimpymoo View Post
    Is powerline not an option?
    This would be much faster, you can get 600Mbps adaptors now and gigabit ones should be around later this year.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus bonkers's Avatar
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    Tested it yesterday and work pretty well, but my destop PC is shit (an old E8400 dual core) which simply doesn't have the power to stream many games properly. You need something with more horsepower. Also make sure you use a cable or newer wifi standard as the old 11mbps standard can only out out 720p at 15fps.
    But so far am impressed, especially concerning the input lag and how hassle-free it is to set-up and use. Input lag is of course there, but barely noticeable. If you play shooters on a casual basis this shouldn't be an issue. Also the receiving PC doesn't need much. Used my old dual core (4 thread) laptop for that and the cpu usage rarely went over 25%
    Last edited by bonkers; 25-01-2014 at 11:58 AM.
    (Firefall: bug shot) // (PS2: bobby is going home)
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  12. #12
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    I have my main machine wired in and the others WiFi. Batman Oranges worked pretty well on the stream, no real input lag BUT I didn't really push the game, I played a couple of challenge maps. Neo Scavenger had issues, I think because its a flash based game and is rendered oddly, or it could of been my machine acting up.

    One great side benefit of the streaming beta is I have all my machines logged into steam, can't play on more than one but everything will update.

  13. #13
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    I just gave this a whirl and it's surprisingly clever and yet at the same time some fairly basic problems stop it from being useful.

    I have the new desktop I made with Steam installed and the Steam Library copied over (this means game will need to install supporting libraries before launch - more about which in a moment) and 2 laptops.

    The laptops are an IBM X200 with a C2D/GMA4500 and and older HP NC2400 CoreDuo/GMA950

    I launched RAGE (not too ambitious! :) ) on the desktop and then connected and tried to play it from the laptops.

    On the IBM it's quite playable - there are some stutters and jumps but considering it's downsizing 1920x1080 on the desktop to 1280x800 - encoding it - decoding it etc. - it's quite impressive - latency was around 100ms...

    On the HP things are not so great - it's jerky and generally not really that playable - latency is more like 250ms and that's on the same network in the same place so it's clearly encode/decode performance which is the problem.

    I then tried to play a different game - you can 'Stream' any game which is installed on the 'server' machine but there are some gotchas. If the Server PC needs any intervention at all, you'll have to go do that on the server itself. By intervention I mean if it wants to install supporting libraries (see above) or even if it just shows you an online access key or a startup/settings menu - this is something they'll have to fix ASAP to make this more useful.

    It shouldn't be a problem tho - it's streaming EVERYTHING on your 'server' PC to the client. If you alt-tab a game on the 'server' when someone is playing it from a client - they get to see and control your desktop instead!

    Overall tho, it has potential for sure - tho it's not really a solution to the issue of Steamboxes not being able to play 90%+ of Steam games is it? "Buy another PC to run Windows" isn't really a solution to that! :)
    Last edited by trjp; 27-01-2014 at 02:47 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    I then tried to play a different game - you can 'Stream' any game which is installed on the 'server' machine but there are some gotchas. If the Server PC needs any intervention at all, you'll have to go do that on the server itself. By intervention I mean if it wants to install supporting libraries (see above) or even if it just shows you an online access key or a startup/settings menu - this is something they'll have to fix ASAP to make this more useful.
    Yeah. For the time being, I recommend installing TightVNC on the server and using it when necessary. Remote Desktop will completely screw things up because Windows switches over to some kind of virtual video card when you connect that way. But VNC works great.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus bonkers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    tho it's not really a solution to the issue of Steamboxes not being able to play 90%+ of Steam games is it?
    Because it was never meant to be.
    (Firefall: bug shot) // (PS2: bobby is going home)
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by neema_t View Post
    This would be much faster, you can get 600Mbps adaptors now and gigabit ones should be around later this year.
    Sorry to be the person, but bandwidth =/= latency. But can help if the latency problem is bandwidth limited.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonkers View Post
    Because it was never meant to be.
    I know Valve have pointed to this as a solution for games which won't run on the Steambox itself (which, let's be honest, is almost all of them) - so they're selling the Steambox as a 'some games on it and other games streamed with it' device.

    That's not really a solution tho - a 50 streaming box would be amazing - a 500 one has only comedy value anyway.

    Update on the streaming - after a while, the IBM laptops lost interest completely and simply refused to connect to anything - even after a restart. Ironically it could see the other laptop and the server could see it but it saw nothing - hey ho.

    I was going to connect the laptop to the TV downstairs and have a play but I realised that

    a - I have a 360 (and soon a PS3 again) down there already and
    b - there's nothing on my PC I'd actually want to play on the telly really...

    It works - mostly - but I think solving all the issues might prove rather tricky - supporting everything will prove trickier and even in a ideal world I suspect the latency will be a killer for any 'action' game (and who plays strategy games on a telly??)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by neema_t View Post
    This would be much faster, you can get 600Mbps adaptors now and gigabit ones should be around later this year.
    As someone already said - bandwidth is NOT THE ISSUE, it's encode/decode performance which matters. A home network should always have enough ping and unless your wireless is horrific it will manage the few Mbps you need for the actual data.

    GPU will matter (ironic - isn't it?) - video encode/decode performance is that it's all about.

    My older laptop couldn't cope (CoreDuo/GMA 950) but that's not a big surprise, it barely managed Youtube in fullscreen...

    My newer laptop (Core2Duo/GMA 4500) was doing OK but you're still looking at 100ms latency which is quite a bit (a 60fps game throws 6 frames between you pressing a button, the game registering that you've done it and a frame appearing which reflects your action)

    I'll probably have a Core i laptop later in the week which I can test to see if things get any better but I suspect 100ms may be it.

  19. #19
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    and in ANOTHER post - I've just realised that a Steambox which is just the controller (or a 360 one) and some streaming tech would be amazing - why aren't they making that instead of fannying around with the consumer-dead-end that is Linux?

    The tech in my Android set-top-box-thingy would probably do the job (it runs Unix - I might even see if I can shoehorn Steam onto it!!) - all I'd need is a controller driver of some sort.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    A bit off-topic, I admit, but ...

    Why wouldn't you just buy a long hdmi cable for way cheaper, with no compression, imperceptible latency and fewer humming computerboxes?

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