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Experimenting with Steam's In-Home Streaming

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In-Home Streaming was part of the SteamOS announcement Valve made back in September and beta invites to the functionality have been sent to some people around the internet. Luckily I was part of that group and I can share some of it with you!

Steam's In-Home Streaming basically means that you use one of your computers (the most powerful presumably) to basically “play” the game and stream that to your another device for actual playing. This allows you to use any computer that can run Steam to run almost any game that the more powerful computer is able to run. The games also don't have to be on Steam, with many games you can simply add a launcher into Steam and be able to stream that game through the streaming service too, for example Doom 3 running with the Dhewm3 engine, which I showed on the video. On Linux-side of things it also means that you can run games designed for Windows on Linux by letting your Windows machine run the game and stream it to your Linux computer. “Sadly” I don't have one of those Windows machines, so I will only be able to show you how it works from a Linux host to a Linux client.

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As you can see, games tend to run pretty nicely through the In-Home Streaming even with the screen capturing software running and the latency is pretty much unnoticeable. What is also rather surprising is the fact that you can also stream from computers with lower specs, so you don't necessarily have to get the latest NVIDIA graphics card to use the In-Home Streaming. With an Intel HD Graphics 3000 and an i3 I was able to stream Portal with acceptable framerates to my main machine, though on the video it was capped at ~15 FPS due to SimpleScreenRecorder running in the background.

This is the thing that caught my interest most in the Valve announcements and I am happy to see how well it is working even in beta. Of course I still some bugs and mouse input with games on my laptop was pretty much broken, but I think the audio-video side, which is working fantastically, is the most difficult part of the process so we can probably expect the functionality to be there very quickly.

Will/would/do you use the Steam's In-Home Streaming functionality? Tell us in the comments below! Article taken from
Tags: Preview, Steam, Video
About the author -
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I'm a Linux gamer from Finland. I like reading, long walks on the beach, dying repeatedly in roguelikes and ripping and tearing in FPS games. I also sometimes write code and sometimes that includes hobbyist game development.
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edmondo Feb 4, 2014
I've done some testing two or three days ago and was impressed how easy was to get it running. Performance was nice, very playable, even with my very old laptop on the steam streaming guest side (how do you call it, stream destination?). Here some data:

Steam "Server" (source):
  • Athlon64 X3 Phenom II

  • Radeon HD5850 with open source driver r600g

  • Gentoo Linux, kernel 3.13.0, Mesa 10.0.2

  • 1 Gbps ethernet

Steam "Client" (destination of the stream):
  • Old Acer Laptop

  • Intel Centrino Single Core CPU

  • Radeon Mobility X200 with open source driver r200 if I remember well

  • Linux Mint 15

  • 100 Mbps ethernet

I just tried following games and both tests were successful:

  • Portal

  • A virus named Tom

With Portal on my laptop I have most of the time about 30 fps, sometimes down to 20 fps. Input latency was good, not much lagging. I'm quite impressed, this laptop was really no game machine at all, until now. :-)

I'll do some more tests later this week.
krscue Feb 5, 2014
I was also picked in this round of betas, however I have not got it working yet.
My 2 steam computers don't see each other, they do not show up in the In-Home Streaming/Devices list.
I'm not sure why, but it might be because I'm using official ip addresses, not rfc1918 (local network).

Anyone else have this problem?
krscue Feb 9, 2014
The above connection issue was caused by some iptables rules set up by libvirt/kvm...
Now, however, my problem is that no input (keyboar or mouse) seems to be forwarded to the "server/host" from the "client". o_O
JoeyD May 4, 2014
I've setup a system with LTSP and virtualgl that works pretty well. Virtualgl will also run wine and integrates with turbovnc/tigervnc as well. Virtualgl doesn't do sound, but that's handled in ltsp with pulseaudio anyway. So now any pc that can boot from lan, runs linux without needing to install anything including 3d games. Off course you don't need LTSP, virtualgl will work on just about any linux and you'll only need enable networksound for pulseaudio to complete the experience.
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