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Steam Link hardware officially walks the plank, there's an app for that

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Valve has quietly mentioned that the Steam Link is selling out across the world with stock either sold out or about to be sold out. It's already sold out in Europe with stock in the US almost gone too, so if you want one you better act fast.

It's a shame, as I don't think they device really lived up to the potential it offered. Valve didn't exactly do a lot with it after release, although is did basically serve its purpose. We knew this day was coming, since it has repeatedly been on sale for next to nothing.

Valve will continue support it, but at this point they're probably hoping more people start using the Steam Link App which you won't need yet another device for picking up dust.

I was quite impressed with the Steam Link Android app at release. which Valve has slowly made some good improvements on like being able to stream to multiple devices, giving you some streamed local co-op.

Did you buy one? Are you sad to see it go? Do let us know in the comments.

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51 comments
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Mohandevir 21 November 2018 at 8:22 pm UTC
slaapliedje
MohandevirThing is, when it was heavily discounted, it was cheaper to buy a Steam Link for the network and HDMI cable included than buying the cables alone. So I bought 2 of them.

Tried using them hardwired and it did a good job with many games but for others (ex: Witcher 3) I had lots of pixelated frames or just bad performances (Deux Ex: Mankind Divided). Since that's the kind of games I play, the Steam Link doesn't really make it for me. Too bad, I really like the concept and tought that it might become a good client for an hypothetical "Steam streaming service".

So I mostly had played Divine Divinity: Original Sin on Linux on a 1080p TV with the Link, and it'd have audio delay and was crashing (well to be fair, that was the game). But once I changed it from 5.1 surround to just stereo it worked perfectly. Well, was still crashing, but there wasn't any issues with the game. I've also now been playing Conan Exiles over it on my 4k tv, works fine. I've even played Fallout 4 with it. Mind you, now I'm using Wireless with Conan and it's working.

Might give it another shot soon. I have a new RX 580 to test streaming with. Anyone know if the Mesa drivers are doing a good streaming job?

Edit: Did you say 4K? Is the Steam link 4K capable?


Last edited by Mohandevir at 21 November 2018 at 8:26 pm UTC
slaapliedje 22 November 2018 at 12:57 am UTC
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Mohandevir
slaapliedje
MohandevirThing is, when it was heavily discounted, it was cheaper to buy a Steam Link for the network and HDMI cable included than buying the cables alone. So I bought 2 of them.

Tried using them hardwired and it did a good job with many games but for others (ex: Witcher 3) I had lots of pixelated frames or just bad performances (Deux Ex: Mankind Divided). Since that's the kind of games I play, the Steam Link doesn't really make it for me. Too bad, I really like the concept and tought that it might become a good client for an hypothetical "Steam streaming service".

So I mostly had played Divine Divinity: Original Sin on Linux on a 1080p TV with the Link, and it'd have audio delay and was crashing (well to be fair, that was the game). But once I changed it from 5.1 surround to just stereo it worked perfectly. Well, was still crashing, but there wasn't any issues with the game. I've also now been playing Conan Exiles over it on my 4k tv, works fine. I've even played Fallout 4 with it. Mind you, now I'm using Wireless with Conan and it's working.

Might give it another shot soon. I have a new RX 580 to test streaming with. Anyone know if the Mesa drivers are doing a good streaming job?

Edit: Did you say 4K? Is the Steam link 4K capable?

Verified that it scales to 1080p. So I have a 4k TV, my monitor is 2560x1440p (G-sync not that it should matter) and playing GTA V via Proton was really smooth, but the TV's info said it was 1080p. So it definitely scales down, there wasn't any chopped off hud or anything. Still works quite well, and Steam Controller is awesome for GTA V.
stretch611 22 November 2018 at 1:21 am UTC
The Steam Link is on sale again. $2.50(US)

You can bundle it with a Steam Controller for only $35.61(US) essentially only $0.62 more than a steam controller alone.

However, I remember the last time I considered getting one, the price of shipping was another $7-10 making it not nearly as good as a price.

And, in my case, I am happy just hooking my gaming laptop up to the TV screen directly, so I would rather spend the money on a new game.
Mal 22 November 2018 at 10:41 am UTC
Ok since I couldn't wrap my head around I tried to get literate about the app.

Apparently if your tv is not smart or the native app is garbage like in my Samsung case, in the post-link world you're supposed to go with an Android TV. The android app says it officially supports Steam and Xbox One S controllers but I bet it works also with all the stuff that is Android compatible (including m+k devices) as regular ones. I bet that for officially supported they mean controllers that work with steam API and give access to profiles and that kind of stuff.

On a second thought it doesn't look that bad of a decision. All the world wants to be android compatible to get in reach of the endless hordes of people playing microtransaction baked heavy farming android games out there. By jumping on android platform Valve devs should be free to spend less time on drivers (and hardware maintenance) and more on actual features which doesn't sound that bad. The Android TV itself may cost more than a link but it also includes the same features of a Chromecast, a Firestick, it's google assistant compatible and has all the android apps including games that every serious gamer should play daily like angry birds and the fans favorite Diablo Immortal. All in all it's better value I guess and much less cabling behind the TV.

Personally I'm sticking to my link until it lasts (I already have a Chromecast and since I'm not a serious gamer I don't care about angry birds or Diablo Immmortal ). Then again I guess privacy champions won't be happy to be forced to have a Google product spying their gaming achievements in the living rooms...
slaapliedje 22 November 2018 at 9:35 pm UTC
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MalOk since I couldn't wrap my head around I tried to get literate about the app.

Apparently if your tv is not smart or the native app is garbage like in my Samsung case, in the post-link world you're supposed to go with an Android TV. The android app says it officially supports Steam and Xbox One S controllers but I bet it works also with all the stuff that is Android compatible (including m+k devices) as regular ones. I bet that for officially supported they mean controllers that work with steam API and give access to profiles and that kind of stuff.

On a second thought it doesn't look that bad of a decision. All the world wants to be android compatible to get in reach of the endless hordes of people playing microtransaction baked heavy farming android games out there. By jumping on android platform Valve devs should be free to spend less time on drivers (and hardware maintenance) and more on actual features which doesn't sound that bad. The Android TV itself may cost more than a link but it also includes the same features of a Chromecast, a Firestick, it's google assistant compatible and has all the android apps including games that every serious gamer should play daily like angry birds and the fans favorite Diablo Immortal. All in all it's better value I guess and much less cabling behind the TV.

Personally I'm sticking to my link until it lasts (I already have a Chromecast and since I'm not a serious gamer I don't care about angry birds or Diablo Immmortal ). Then again I guess privacy champions won't be happy to be forced to have a Google product spying their gaming achievements in the living rooms...

I have to laugh at 'not a serious gamer' and then mention of mobile games. I can't stand gaming on mobile devices, specifically because of the micro-transactions or advertisements.

I ordered a second link for the downstairs area along with another Steam controller (that makes three of those). While yes, you can now pair a Steam Controller with a phone/android device over the bluetooth protocol, I still wouldn't use one to game with. Definitely not going to get a Android TV device.

It's kind of crappy in this day and age when you have to wonder which is going to be more of a privacy concern, Android or Windows...
Ardje 23 November 2018 at 11:07 pm UTC
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Meeh...
the steam link just works.
The steam link app works, until it turns off the steam controller.
It still works after that, just without any input. And reconnecting the controller after that is hell.

Oh, I forgot: the steam link app cannot start the stream. That's already a problem in itself.


Last edited by Ardje at 23 November 2018 at 11:10 pm UTC
ripper 24 November 2018 at 9:52 am UTC
MohandevirI have a new RX 580 to test streaming with. Anyone know if the Mesa drivers are doing a good streaming job?

Unfortunately, hardware encoding is not yet supported with Mesa drivers :/
https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/4890

So it's running software-only, making use of a lot of CPU.
Mohandevir 26 November 2018 at 5:15 pm UTC
ripper
MohandevirI have a new RX 580 to test streaming with. Anyone know if the Mesa drivers are doing a good streaming job?

Unfortunately, hardware encoding is not yet supported with Mesa drivers :/
https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/4890

So it's running software-only, making use of a lot of CPU.

Sad but good to know... I tested and performances wasn't really good. 100% wired and had lots of stuttering. At the pace things are going, at least we may still hope that Mesa will eventually catch up.


Last edited by Mohandevir at 26 November 2018 at 7:51 pm UTC
slaapliedje 26 November 2018 at 7:49 pm UTC
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Speaking of the Link, here's some fun I have with my current TV.

I turn on the Link via Steam Controller button... it turns on the TV and brings up the correct HDMI input... but then decides to turn on the PS4 Pro that's connected to it. Which I then have to turn off via it's controller and switch back to the Link's HDMI input because the PS4 made it switch....

Also if I turn off the PS4 Pro, it doesnt' turn off the TV, so when I push the power button on the remote to turn that off... about a minute later the PS4 pro turns back on.

Stupid CEC.
Ardje 28 November 2018 at 12:23 am UTC
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slaapliedjeSpeaking of the Link, here's some fun I have with my current TV.

I turn on the Link via Steam Controller button... it turns on the TV and brings up the correct HDMI input... but then decides to turn on the PS4 Pro that's connected to it. Which I then have to turn off via it's controller and switch back to the Link's HDMI input because the PS4 made it switch....

Also if I turn off the PS4 Pro, it doesnt' turn off the TV, so when I push the power button on the remote to turn that off... about a minute later the PS4 pro turns back on.

Stupid CEC.
And you might f* that carefully crafted setup by connecting a PC to the hdmi port as some video cards have grounded that line, and it's a bus so it's dead.
Anyway: I've noticed that if I do not turn off the link by hand/steam controller and turn off my tv, which turns off my receiver and puts my tv receiver in standby, it does something on the CEC bus, which in turn causes my receiver to wake up and request stream, which in turn turns on the receiver and we have a night long noises...
The link will keep making noises on the cec bus, so it's unstoppable until I turn off the link first.
My tv-receiver has a lot of CEC settings and this was the best way to handle my girlfriend turning the tv on, and the tv saying that it can't receive anything (which it can't because it's a stupid ass tv that can't handle the 6k channels I have, it stops at 5k with an overflow and just bugs out.

But this is the right procedure: turn on the tv, let anything play it's things with channel switching. Takes about 30s. Then turn on the link, it will switch channels. When finished with the link, turn it off, and then turn off the tv.
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