Valve Takes In-home Game Streaming Out of Beta, Supports Windows, OS X & Linux
Valve has today pushed out a new update to its Steam client on all three of the major OSes that finally takes in-home game-streaming out of beta. Similar to NVIDIA's GameStream, which streams native gameplay from a GeForce-equipped PC to the NVIDIA SHIELD, Valve's solution lets you stream from one PC to another, regardless of which OS it's running.
What this means, is, you could have a SteamOS-based PC in your living-room, which is of course Linux-based, and stream games from your Windows PC in another room which ordinarily would never run under Linux. Likewise, you could stream a game from an OS X PC to a Windows one. We're talking complete interoperability here.
While the feature was in beta, I gave it a good test and was left impressed overall. It struck me as somewhat amazing that I was streaming a game from my main Linux PC over to my Windows one, and vice versa. Simply put, this kind of functionality is long overdue, and it's seriously awesome.
The way it works is that Steam will encode gameplay on-the-fly and transfer it over to the target PC. Because video is involved, what you see won't look like native graphics, but rather video. The quality is still very good, but you'll definitely know it's a video, unless you sit back far enough from the display.
Like with NVIDIA's GameStream, the PC that's doing the actual rendering will be unusable while the in-home streaming is in use. Once a game is chosen on the target PC, the game gets loaded on the source one, overtaking its screen. Both could be controlled completely independently, though that kind of goes against what the technology is all about.
Overall, an excellent feature, and one could help with SteamOS adoption quite a bit.