Steam in-home streaming now available in open beta

In-home streaming for everyone! After three months of testing Steam in-home streaming in a closed beta community, Valve has added the feature to the Steam beta client accessible to all. Want to stream games from your office desktop to a living room PC while luxuriating on the couch? The power is yours. Just remember that this particular power is still a work-in-progress, which means it may be laggy or fail altogether with certain games on Steam.

Valve has steadily improved on Steam in-home streaming since we first used it in January . The update notes for the new beta client include a few noteworthy improvements for in-home streaming and features that make it more beginner-friendly.

  • Added an intro dialog the first time you start streaming a game
  • Show a dialog if the game needs cloud sync resolution before starting
  • Improved D3D asynchronous capture performance
  • Improved OpenGL asynchronous capture performance
  • Fixed slow system reporting for Fast and Balanced settings
  • Fixed several causes of infinite latency when client is too slow
  • Fixed client crash changing resolution with software decoding
  • Increased precision for refresh rate and capture framerate
  • Reduced latency when streaming at the client refresh rate

Could "infinite latency" sound any more horrifying? Good thing that's taken care of. Valve has actually been steadily improving on Steam in-home streaming since we first used it in January . The last two updates on the in-home streaming community , dated March 17 and March 31, listed a number of new features and improvements:

  • Revamped architecture to support many more games and improve responsiveness
  • Fixed black screen when encoding with Intel QuickSync on Intel HD 3000
  • Added mouse emulation mode for controllers, toggled with Guide+A
  • Added hardware accelerated encoding via Intel QuickSync
  • Added a speed vs quality preference setting
  • Unlimited bandwidth has been increased to 100 Mbit for those who want to live on the edge
  • OpenGL games are now scaled correctly during capture

Earlier updates also noted general improvements to streaming performance and architectural changes to reduce latency. More people using in-home streaming will, hopefully, give Valve more data on what works and what doesn't. In-home streaming works for the Windows and Mac Steam clients, but it could be a killer app for SteamOS.

Want to try out in-home streaming's open beta for yourself? Open Steam's settings menu. On the Account tab, click "Change" under Beta participation and change the drop-down box to Steam Beta Update. Download the beta client, and that's it—you're in. You'll find in-home streaming in its own tab in the Steam settings menu.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).