Article 88: Steam Streaming for PC

Steam Streaming comes to PC  

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the Modern Nerd blog at the Computer Fixer. This week I am going to give you the scoop on a new service that Steam has introduced for their PC platform, totally free of charge. Now you can use multiple computers in your house to stream your games from one platform to another, effectively putting your gaming PC to more use than just your man-cave (or girl-gamer-rig, there’s no bias on this blog). Let’s check out the possibilities, so read on.

Powerful, Awesome, but Not Mobile

Desktop gaming has one really, really big drawback. It doesn’t travel very well as a rule. Once your monitor(s), speakers, tower, keyboard, and mouse are in place, you need a really enticing reason to move them. Wired internet is still the fastest internet, so there’s another reason to keep your command center, well, centralized.

However, Steam is trying to give PC gamers more flexibility to utilize their LAN networks. Steam is a free online gaming community that sells and manages games on your computers. If you have two computers running Steam on the same Local Area Network, you can use the computer that has the program installed to stream the game to the second.

If you have a laptop that is recent, but not necessarily a gaming powerhouse, then you can get the game transmitted, frame by frame, from your gaming rig. This also means more freedom to take advantage of Big Picture, the operating system that Steam introduced for controllers and televisions, so your laptop, a controller, and a TV can be a new Xbox or PlayStation.

Network Requirements

So what do you need to make this work? Steam and two computers is a good start, but you need to make sure that the streaming will be fast enough over your local network. Your wireless card, if that is the way you are going to stream, needs to be of the standard N or higher, and a dual band router is a great leg up to make sure that you get all of the speed that you need. Currently dual-band N-type routers are going for around 50 dollars online, which is about the price you would pay for a G-type router about 5 years ago. Speed has gone from 50 Mb/s to ~600 Mb/s, and the power you need to keep yourself connected, over wires or wirelessly, is readily available.

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