Valve's $50 Steam Link streams games from Mac OS X to an HDTV

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2015
Valve is now accepting preorders for the upcoming Steam Link hardware accessory, a $50 set-top box that will stream 1080p gameplay from a nearby computer, including a Mac running Yosemite or later.




Steam Link will cost $49.99 for the base hardware, compatible with a Steam Controller, Xbox One or 360 wired controller, Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows, Logitech WirelessGamepad F710, or keyboard and mouse. A $99.98 bundle with the Steam Controller is also available.

In addition to Microsoft Windows and Valve's own SteamOS, Steam Link is also compatible with OS X 10.10 or newer. The platform-agnostic streaming device should work with any Mac compatible with OS X 10.10 Yosemite or OS X 10.11 El Capitan, both of which run Valve's Steam.

Valve strongly recommends that users rely on a wired network to stream from a computer to a Steam Link.





The Mac has historically been something of a second-class citizen in the traditional PC gaming world, but the situation has improved in recent years as Apple's hardware has gained market share. It was especially bolstered in 2010, when Steam arrived on Mac and allowed for cross-platform gameplay against Windows PC users.

Having virtually conquered the PC gaming space, Valve has set its sights on the living room, with not only the new Steam Link streaming device, but also its forthcoming Steam Machines platform. Rather than relying on a dedicated PC to do the heavy lifting, Steam Machines are their own all-in-one PCs designed by manufacturers like Alienware, Asus, Zotac and others, running Valve's Linux-based Steam OS.




Both Steam OS and Macs connected to Steam Link will present users with a couch- and controller-friendly interface known as Big Picture.

The Steam Link outputs 1080p at 60 frames per second, and features 100Mbit Ethernet as well as wireless 802.11ac networking. It also features three USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.0, and HDMI out.

Apple, of course, will also be entering the home console business, albeit catered more toward casual gamers, with its forthcoming Apple TV refresh. Set to debut this month, the new Apple set-top box starts at $149 and includes a dedicated App Store where developers will be able to make their own third-party titles available for download.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,490member

    Why would there be anything more than an itsy-bitsy niche market for this?

  • Reply 2 of 19
    jensonbjensonb Posts: 529member

    Are you sure? Ars Technica appears to be under the impression only PCs are supported right now

  • Reply 3 of 19
    robertcrobertc Posts: 118member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jensonb View Post

     

    Are you sure? Ars Technica appears to be under the impression only PCs are supported right now


    From the Steam page:

     

    "A host computer running SteamOS, or Steam Big Picture Mode on Windows Vista or newer, Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer, Linux Ubuntu 12.04 or newer. "

  • Reply 4 of 19
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

     

    Why would there be anything more than an itsy-bitsy niche market for this?


     

    Granted it would be a much smaller market than general TV only streaming, but the PC gaming market is fairly healthy.

     

    Quote:


    PC gaming hardware market worth more than $21.5 billion globally, new report says

    The report predicts that the PC gaming market will grow to to more than $23 billion by 2017, driven by the availability of increasingly powerful hardware that allows PCs to do things that consoles cannot. JPR President Jon Peddie noted that 4K gaming is already a reality for "highest-end" systems and said that even mass-market machines can now push 2560x1440 resolution, well beyond the 1080p resolution (1920x1080) offered by the latest consoles.

     


    http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gaming-hardware-market-worth-more-than-21-5-billion-globally-new-report-says/

  • Reply 5 of 19
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    I like the idea of this - hide an ugly but powerful PC somewhere out of the way and then play games anywhere in the house.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

     

    Why would there be anything more than an itsy-bitsy niche market for this?




     Why would it be that small? The actual steam machines I see little point in; but the Steam Link is quite a good idea.

  • Reply 7 of 19
    I got a preview edition of the controls and steam stream box and got this email from valve.

    We greatly appreciate your early pre-purchase of the first Steam hardware units.

    Unfortunately, there are some temporary software issues that prevent the hardware from functioning with Macs. We expect these problems to be resolved as we update firmware and drivers over the next few weeks.

    The Steam Link currently doesn't stream from Macs. An upcoming update will add full support for streaming audio, video, and controller input.

    The Steam Controller doesn't currently support gamepad emulation on Macs. If you opt into the Steam Beta client, keyboard/mouse emulation will be functional. We expect gamepad emulation to become functional within a few weeks.

    We want to apologize for the delays in providing full functionality for the Mac platform. We're doing everything we can to resolve the issues. For the latest fixes and functionality, we recommend that you opt in to the Steam client beta.

    We've added the Valve Complete Pack to your Steam account as a gift from Valve. This will give you all of Valve's games (past, present and future) free of charge. You can still choose to refund your Steam Controller and/or Steam Link (refund instructions below), but the Valve games are yours to keep.

    Steam Hardware Team

    Steam Hardware Returns
    Please send an email to the following address ([email protected]) if you would like to refund your purchase due to Mac functionality issues. Please provide your Steam Account name and confirmation number as this will help us coordinate your request.

    We are extending your right to return the product for any reason from 30 to 60 days from the day the product was received, and Valve will pay for the shipping costs to send it back.
  • Reply 8 of 19
    jensonbjensonb Posts: 529member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RobertC View Post

     

    From the Steam page:

     

    "A host computer running SteamOS, or Steam Big Picture Mode on Windows Vista or newer, Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer, Linux Ubuntu 12.04 or newer. "




    The Steam Page for In-Home Streaming disagrees:

     

    "Log into Steam on your Windows* PC"

     

    That asterisk leads to:

     

    "*SteamOS, Linux, and Mac OS X stream hosting coming soon."

  • Reply 9 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,372member
    richl wrote: »
    I like the idea of this - hide an ugly but powerful PC somewhere out of the way and then play games anywhere in the house.

    Plus from what I read, that client can be a Mac even for a PC only game such as GTA V.

    The downside is 1080p... WTF? I play GTA V on my Mac Pro running Windows 8.1 at full resolution on my 27" Apple screen. 1080p would suck! This box should be 4K.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    robertcrobertc Posts: 118member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jensonb View Post

     



    The Steam Page for In-Home Streaming disagrees:

     

    "Log into Steam on your Windows* PC"

     

    That asterisk leads to:

     

    "*SteamOS, Linux, and Mac OS X stream hosting coming soon."


    That's not for Steam Link (which isn't out yet).  I would imagine they'll add support at the time of release.

  • Reply 11 of 19
    robertcrobertc Posts: 118member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Plus from what I read, that client can be a Mac even for a PC only game such as GTA V.



    The downside is 1080p... WTF? I play GTA V on my Mac Pro running Windows 8.1 at full resolution on my 27" Apple screen. 1080p would suck! This box should be 4K.

    nVidia's Shield box will soon allow you to stream your Steam games at 4K (60 fps), but you have to have an nVidia GPU.

     

    Source: nVidia

  • Reply 12 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RobertC View Post

     

    That's not for Steam Link (which isn't out yet).  I would imagine they'll add support at the time of release.


     

    Steam Link runs off the back of In-Home Streaming so if the latter doesn't work on Macs, the former won't either.

  • Reply 13 of 19
    robertcrobertc Posts: 118member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MAJANI View Post

     

     

    Steam Link runs off the back of In-Home Streaming so if the latter doesn't work on Macs, the former won't either.


    Yes, but that page is from an earlier time (hence "not for Steam Link").  I already pointed out that an update will likely come at the launch of Steam Link.

     

    This isn't complicated, Valve lists OS X support on the Steam Link page, and the Steam Link is "coming soon".

  • Reply 14 of 19
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 329administrator

    I'm writing a 'first look' for the controller tonight, should be up sometime tomorrow or Monday. Don't buy this stuff yet if you're mac-centric. The support for macs is all kinds of busted at the moment. This includes both the Link and the Controller.

  • Reply 15 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jsnively View Post

     

    I'm writing a 'first look' for the controller tonight, should be up sometime tomorrow or Monday. Don't buy this stuff yet if you're mac-centric. The support for macs is all kinds of busted at the moment. This includes both the Link and the Controller.


     

    This.

     

    Really need to wait for the official word from Valve, it's kinda coy of them to say outright is supports mac-based streaming yet as of now, it doesn't work - but that hopefully will change by the 10th.

  • Reply 16 of 19
    jensonbjensonb Posts: 529member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RobertC View Post

     

    Yes, but that page is from an earlier time (hence "not for Steam Link").  I already pointed out that an update will likely come at the launch of Steam Link.

     

    This isn't complicated, Valve lists OS X support on the Steam Link page, and the Steam Link is "coming soon".




    A poster in this Thread who has one received an email saying it's not working, with only a very vague timeline on it being fixed - it references an "upcoming update", but gives no indication when this will arrive, in contrast to a fix for certain Steam Controller issues which they peg as being "weeks" away. You might well think it's "likely" it will be fixed by the time the hardware is available widely, but there is no guarantee of any such thing, since the public launch is itself just a few weeks away and yet Valve conspicuously omitted a timeline for allowing Macs to host streams even though one was present for the controller issues being resolved.

     

    It's seriously not a good sign that they haven't managed to get Mac hosted in-home streaming live and working before the hardware makes it out into people's hands. And to be clear, Valve hasn't got a history of hardware successes to give them the benefit of the doubt on this device. There's no basis to just assume things will magically come together for them on time when all evidence is to the contrary.

     

    Nobody is disputing that Valve intends to be Mac Compatible, but their intentions are worthless. If they don't get it working, it's not working.

  • Reply 17 of 19
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,395member
    Missed perfect opportunity to call it conduit.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    YAWN! Just make the games available on ATV 4! No way I am buying ANOTHER box...
  • Reply 19 of 19

    This might be a handy thing, if my 1080p TV wasn't already connected to my computer via a $15 HDMI cable. :)

     

    Seriously though, if my PC and TV weren't already co-located, I could see this being useful.

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