Mobile Gaming: Steam In-Home Streaming Enters Open Beta
Cross the streams
A desk bristling with more flight sticks, throttles, wheels, panels, pedals, and gamepads than a space shuttle command deck may be a wondrous sight and shrine to gaming, but there's a lot to be said for slumping on a sofa in front of a TV or curling up in bed. "But Alice," I hear you ask, "I don't want to schlep my PC around and only have a netbook so what ever am I to do?" Dear reader, through the science of computers, you can now easily stream games from your gaming PC to anything in your home that'll run Steam.
After a while of invitation-only testing, Valve has opened up the Steam In-Home Streaming beta to everyone who opts in.
In-Home Streaming is pretty much what the name suggests. You can use your big beefy gaming PC to run a game then Steam will stream it as video to a lesser device, feeding your control inputs back to the host computer. In short, you should be able to play shiny new games around the home even on your crummy laptop with its integrated graphics. This technology means you'll inevitably suffer a little bit of input latency, and your two systems need to be powerful enough to handle encoding or decoding the video stream (though Steam's quite clever about adjusting this).
This isn't the only way to stream games between devices, of course, but it's right there in Steam--right there!--and seems pretty slick.
Our Alec and Graham both had a crack at In-Home Streaming back in January. While they suffered a bit from having wonky home networks and slow client computers, they seemed jolly impressed by its potential. Valve have obviously worked on it a lot more since then, with patches coming almost every other day. Let's see how it is now.