So, you are a PC gamer but you have had enough of playing your games from your home office or sat at a table. You are considering purchasing a games console so that you can enjoy titles from the comfort of your living room couch. Enter Steam Link. Steam Link is a small device, no bigger than the palm of your hand which can be connected to any TV with HDMI. When connected to your home network it will detect any Steam installations on other devices. You can then stream titles from your PC and play them in any room in your house. You can play your streamed games using a Steam Controller, PC gamepad or keyboard & mouse. In this Steam Link Review we will take a look at what this device has to offer and assess how easy it is to Stream PC games to TV.
If you are looking for a cost effective way to Stream PC games to TV then this is a good place to start. Last week we looked at Valve’s purpose built controller and so this week we move onto the Steam Link review. Before we begin the Steam Link unboxing we must discuss what the device does. This is a small set top box that connects to your TV using a HDMI cable and then detects Steam installations on other devices on your home network.
For its relatively low cost you can install a Steam Link device into multiple rooms in your house and then gain access to your PC game library where ever you are. All of the processing used to run your PC games is done at your PC and the simply acts as a receiver for both the visual and audio content. The Steam Link requirements are minimal. There have been many attempts in the past to produce decent game streaming devices but these have been laggy and do not provide the true gaming experience. The Steam Link sets the new standard. [Read: Steam Controller Review – An All-Round Gaming Device]
Steam Link Unboxing
The Steam Link is designed and built by Valve, a global leader in online games technologies and offers us a way of playing those PC titles on the big screen. Unless you use an expensive high quality HTPC case it is unlikely that you would want an ugly looking desktop PC sat under your main TV. Steam Link offers a solution to this. The design is clean and compact and no bigger than the palm of your hand.
It looks great next to your TV box or satellite receiver or it is small enough to be completely hidden away. Its configuration is simple (more on this in the Steam Link Requirements section) and the Steam Link price mean that this is just a small addition to your gaming setup. As this is just a streaming device it will play any title that the desktop PC you are connecting to can run. [Read: Steam Controller Configuration – Complete Setup Guide]
This is an extremely simply device and there are minimal Steam Link requirements. To stream PC games to TV you will require just four things. 1. A TV with a HDMI socket. 2. A home network so that both your Steam Link and your desktop PC can talk to each other. We will discuss the Steam Link connectivity options in the next section. 3. A desktop PC running Steam with you games library installed. This can either be the Steam Windows install or Steam OS. Finally, 4. a controller connected to your Steam Link to play your games with. This can either be a Steam Controller, PC gamepad or a keyboard and mouse. The Steam Link requirements are simple. The chances are if you have already purchased the device then you will already have everything you need.
Steam Link Connectivity
The Steam Link offers two connection methods to your network. For the majority of users the wireless functionality will provide adequate connectivity to stream PC games to TV. If your TV is located in a room with limited wireless signal you can use the Ethernet port to ensure a seamless connection. The Steam link comes with a total of three USB 2.0 ports. These are used for connecting PC game controllers or the keyboard and mouse. Steam Controllers do not require USB ports. The device has built in Bluetooth 4.0 for Steam Controller detection. Most ports are located on the rear and a single USB port is located on one side of the Steam Link device.
Steam Link Controller Support
After our Steam Link unboxing we must talk about controller connectivity. Without a doubt the best controller for use with the Steam Link is the Steam Controller. The Steam Controller is built for PC games and even supports those point and click titles that require a keyboard and mouse. Steam Controllers require no ports and the connectivity is all achieved with the built in Bluetooth. For this Steam Link review we opted for the vendors own device but there are other options. If you do not have a Steam Controller you can connect a range of PC gamepads including: Xbox One or 360 Wired Controller, Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows, Logitech Wireless or the Gamepad F710. The Steam Link will of course support a keyboard and mouse. [Read: Best PC Game Controllers for HTPC – Emulators & Steam]
Below is a selection of PC game controllers. Please check that they are compatible with Steam Link prior to purchase.
Steam Link Price
If you want gaming in multiple rooms or you want to transfer your PC game titles to the living room TV then the Steam Link is definitely worth a purchase. The current Steam Link price is less than the cost of a game. It is certainly cheaper than buying a games console. Included in the Steam Link price is everything your need to get up and running with the exception of the controller. It is a great price for an excellent game streaming solution. [Read: Gaming On Your HTPC]
Below are a list of reasons to buy Steam Link.
- Affordable price
- Stream PC Games to TV in any room
- Works with multiple PC game controller options
- Both wired and wireless connectivity
- Small, compact and will sit nicely next to any media solution
- Easy to setup with minimal Steam Link requirements
Steam Link Review – HMP Verdict
The Steam Link adds another dimension to your PC gaming. As mentioned at the start of this post there have been previous attempts to provide a good game streaming solution. Most of these have failed and produced a poor gaming experience. The Steam Link will stream PC games to TV from any Steam installation on your network. One of the most impressive elements of our Steam Link review was just how easy it is to set the device up and in no time at all you can begin your gaming.
Another Steam Link review positive is that Valve did not lock the device down to the Steam Controller only. You can use many different controllers you have lying around your house. The only real downside in our opinion is that your cannot stream none Steam PC titles and old games / emulators you may have on your PC but I guess the majority of game titles these days come from Steam. The Steam Link delivers exactly what it says on the tin and is available at a really good price!