Valve Developing Home Theater PC For Your Living Room and Steam Big Picture

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News Posted: Mon, Dec 10 2012 9:16 AM
Just as we always suspected, Valve's push from the PC to the living room isn't going to end with Big Picture mode. The next logical step, and one that Valve hinted at before, is to jump over on the hardware side of the equation and launch a PC-based console of its own, a "Steam Box," if you will.

Confirmation of Valve's plans comes from Kotaku, which claims to have heard from Gabe Newell himself that the end goal is for the company to develop its own hardware. If Big Picture mode was a test, it's safe to say PC gamers passed, as Newell said the reaction to the 10-foot UI has been "stronger than expected."

Big Picture Steam

"Our hardware will be a very controlled environment," Newell added. "If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room."

Valve has been working on porting Steam over to Linux, though Valve's hardware might not be as open-source as a typical PC. The Steam Box might only be one of many solutions, however, as Newell says he's expecting other people will release solutions tailored to Steam's Big Picture mode as well.
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sackyhack replied on Mon, Dec 10 2012 10:46 AM

I'm...actually in support of this, weird. I'd always been hesitate to hook up my giant desktop pc to my tv just because I didn't want to deal with the hassle. And getting an htpc would mean I'd either have to settle for something cheap but lower-powered than my desktop or splurge on something nice when I already have a decent rig. And even after all that, sitting on a couch trying to use a mouse to pick the games would be really uncomfortable. But I'm thoroughly impressed with Big Picture Mode, so if it's something that's easily navigable on a couch, then I'm all for it.

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Dorkstar replied on Mon, Dec 10 2012 11:40 AM

I'm in the same boat as you Sackyhack.  I actually took an old build I had and hooked it to the TV, it's a halfway decent rig that can probably play most games on low settings, but I just can't get around to actually using it.  I built it strictly for movies but even that seems like a chore to get going.  Plus, my tv is 20 feet away from the couch, so I have to either make every Icon huge, or walk up to the TV to actually read the text.  Computers just aren't setup to display an image that is viewed from more than a foot away.  However, big picture look really promising, I toyed around with it this weekend.  I didn't actually hook up to the tv yet because I don't have capabilities to use a wireless controller right now, so i'm stuck using a wired ps3 controller.  But it's nice to know that one day I can pick up a game on my gaming computer play around with it, then head over to the living room and play it console style.

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3vi1 replied on Mon, Dec 10 2012 1:37 PM

I'd definitely get one for the living room if the price is right. I love that I can build my own with no additional software costs if I don't like what they offer. I've been playing in the Linux Beta, and S.P.A.Z. is wasting my life away. :)

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sevags replied on Mon, Dec 10 2012 2:32 PM

I would still rather plug my computer to my TV.... I don't see where the hassle is especially if you have duplicate cables so you only move hardware back and forth. I started playing World Of Warcraft on a 42" Pioneer plasma back in 2005 and realized I never wanted to use a monitor ever again especially it it was under 32". I no longer have to watch TV while on my computer like when I was younger so now my 32" LCD is my tv and monitor and when friends comes over our 47" LCD becomes our monitor.

Sackyhack: an htpc doesn't mean you have to compromise at ALL, transplanting your rigs internals to a more htpc "living room friendly" case is all you would really have to as long as your rig doesn't sound like a blow dryer constantly on. If your TV is close to where your desktop is any way (many people have them close together) a KVM switch would allow you to go back and forth from your TV to monitor is you still wanted both.

This is a good idea but not one I will be jumping on. I am definitely a PC guy and don't see the advantage of this other than price? I would rather build my own HTPC which would probably be either a lot more powerful or a lot cheaper than the steambox or use my current computer, orrrr yes buy a console like an xbox. I highly doubt their steambox will powerful enough to play the high end games we enjoy on steam and you will still need a PC for that. It's pretty much a rebranded htpc anyway so sounds like it would be cheap and underpowered, or as expensive as your rig the 2 reasons you are dismissing an htpc or new rig option.

Dorkstar; your tv is 20 feet away from you?! How big is the TV??? There is a rule for how far your tv has to be depending on its size and your tv sounds way too far unless it's a big tv. You do know you can make icons and txts larger on your tv from a windows environment right?.....

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Dorkstar replied on Mon, Dec 10 2012 3:42 PM

sevags:

Dorkstar; your tv is 20 feet away from you?! How big is the TV??? There is a rule for how far your tv has to be depending on its size and your tv sounds way too far unless it's a big tv. You do know you can make icons and txts larger on your tv from a windows environment right?.....

lol, yeah I know how to make Icon's bigger, I just haven't gotten around to doing it. 

My TV is only 40".  My house was built in the 80's and for some reason they decided to make the living room rectangular, and place a little wall between the living room and dining room for the TV to go.  I'm assuming they didn't think people would have TV's much bigger than 40-50".  So I literally have to sit as far away from the TV for the living room to actually make sense furniture wise.  I may be able to squeeze something as big as 46" in there, but I don't think anything bigger would go in there.  We've got plans to mount a bigger TV up above the fireplace mantle once we get the funds for the TV, and convince a friend to run cables through brick. 

 As for right now, I just have to deal with being too damn far from the TV.  It works just fine when i'm watching TV, just not when i'm attempting to use the computer at a higher resolution.

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OSunday replied on Mon, Dec 10 2012 10:45 PM

Dorkstar, I'm telling you, you've got to get XBMC running on that thing, it will change your entire experience!

But I think this is a great solution, for living room applications most people do want turnkey solutions.

I can't wait to see what Valve comes up with and even though it won't be something designed, even if it's hardware in a controlled environment I think everyone whose had any experience with Valve or anything from Steam know's their trustworthy and will give us something with the goal of providing a great service and experience, not just making a profit.

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Kidbest100 replied on Mon, Dec 10 2012 11:19 PM

Half-life episode 3 should come out with this. THEN I would be amused...

(fat chance huh?)

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Dorkstar replied on Tue, Dec 11 2012 9:26 AM

Kidbest100:

Half-life episode 3 should come out with this. THEN I would be amused...

(fat chance huh?)

I was just talking to a buddy about that... while I doubt HL3 would make it's debut on release date, i'm curious is Valve is going to toss all the valve classics on there for free to attract consumers.  You know, CS, HL, Portal, L4D, and all the other mods etc that go with it.  Would be sweeeet.

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sackyhack replied on Tue, Dec 11 2012 1:45 PM

They still need to release Left4Dead 3+4+5+6, Ricochet 2-29, and Portal 3 through 17 before Episode 3.

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Dorkstar replied on Tue, Dec 11 2012 3:32 PM

sackyhack:

They still need to release Left4Dead 3+4+5+6, Ricochet 2-29, and Portal 3 through 17 before Episode 3.

Hey now, take it easy on valve.  They may take a long while to release a game, but it's always pure gold.

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