If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Have You Played... (with a) Steam Link?

Use a cable not wifi, I beg you

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Despite not having previously felt as thought I needed one, I picked a Steam Link dirt-cheap in the sales, more out of curiosity than anything else. It's pretty good - unless you try to use it over WiFi.

I can only presume you know what a Steam Link is already, but just in case: it's a small (about 6x4") box that plugs into your telly and can stream games from your PC to said telly - i.e. for those situations where a really long HDMI cable just isn't viable. Some PC games require a keyboard, mouse and hunched posture. Some PC games are better suited to sitting back on a sofa and looking at a big screen.

I guess this is going to be more a piece of advice than a set of opinions. If you're at all interested in a Steam Link, or Steam Home Streaming in general, be aware that you will almost certainly experience poor results if you try and play it over a wireless connection. What's happening is that your PC is turning the game into a video stream on the fly, and as such it transmitting vast amounts of data constantly. You need a super-fast connection for that, and right now only a hard-wired ethernet cable can achieve that.

Use a cable and the experience is so much better - a infinitely crisper picture, less lag, almost no sudden spikes or collapse into a mess of smeary shapes. And the Steam Link provides a mostly elegant Steam Big Picture UI for it too. When it works, it feels as though in-home streaming is a solved problem. When it doesn't work, which is usually over wifi, it feels as though we're light-years away from getting it right.

These things are ace, but use a cable. Even if it means drilling. Trust me.

Topics in this article

Follow topics and we'll email you when we publish something new about them.  Manage your notification settings.

About the Author
Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

Rock Paper Shotgun logo

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Buy RPS stuff here
Rock Paper Shotgun Merch