While Linux ports are becoming increasingly de rigueur among PC developers, Valve's living room focused SteamOS still won't be able to run the majority of Steam's Windows-only catalogue. That's why the SteamOS announcement made mention of game streaming, letting your Windows machine do the heavy lifting. Following on from their creation of an in-home streaming Steam group, now they've kicked off the streaming beta, and created a series of posts explaining how it will work.
"Any two computers in a home can be used to stream a gameplay session and this can enable playing games on systems that would not traditionally be able to run those games," Valve write . "For example, a Windows only game could be streamed from a Windows PC to a Steam Machine running Linux in the living room. A graphically intensive game could be streamed from a beefy gaming rig in the office to your low powered laptop that you are using in bed. You could even start a game on one computer and move to a more comfortable location and continue playing it there." The second computer is used purely to receive audio and video signal, and send controller inputs.
A Q&A clarifies a few of the streaming feature's technicalities, confirming that it will be free, and saying that internet streaming is "currently not supported." Perhaps the more significant, if understandable revelation is that PCs will be unusable during streams. "Your computer is dedicated to running the game and input is coming from both the remote client and the local system. It would be very confusing if someone were trying to use the computer at the same time."
Head over to the In-home Streaming Announcements page for more in-depth technical details. The streaming beta is now running for the first wave of testers. If you'd like to be considered for an expanded beta, sign up to the Steam group