Steam Streaming

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  • Dirtbox 25 Jan 2014 07:49:38 77,712 posts
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    Some time ago now I went on the hunt for a way to stream games from my PC in the office to any one of the TVs elsewhere in my house, I never got around to doing it because it involved some hardware and messing about with cables and so on and I'd also heard a rumour that Steam were thinking about doing precisely what I was trying to do, so I left it.

    That was about two years ago and I'd all but forgotten about it, but, if you're in the Steam Beta program it's available for you to try right now. It's not without it's mild drawbacks at the moment, such as currently needing a wired connection to your network, but it's a step in the right direction.

    Also you can stream non-steam games. I tested it with BF4. Sat on my couch. With a 360 pad.

    And then I played some Twilight Princess. Sat on my couch. With a 360 pad.

    Pretty nifty.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 08:15:41 25-01-2014

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  • Fake_Blood 25 Jan 2014 08:52:59 4,169 posts
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    You played bf4 with a console controller on your tv?
    Where is the real DB and what have you done with him?
  • Dirtbox 25 Jan 2014 09:20:28 77,712 posts
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    Don't worry, I didn't enjoy it or anything.

    I just wanted to put the requirement for an HTPC or a console to death once and for all.

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  • Fake_Blood 25 Jan 2014 09:24:40 4,169 posts
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    Surely you're streaming to some kind of pc under the tv?
  • Dirtbox 25 Jan 2014 09:40:54 77,712 posts
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    Yeah, it's only been out a couple of days so the options are slim. In my case a small laptop set up to run with the lid shut. Won't be long before they add Chromecast, Roku, smart TVs, etc.

    More info here

    Edited by Dirtbox at 09:43:16 25-01-2014

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  • sport 25 Jan 2014 09:48:53 12,694 posts
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    Pc gaming is dead, DB!!
  • Fake_Blood 25 Jan 2014 09:53:07 4,169 posts
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    What's handeling the controls, laptop or server pc?
  • Dirtbox 25 Jan 2014 11:24:20 77,712 posts
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    Laptop. Which is fine, most importantly it also opens the door to purpose built tech that remotely connects USB HIDs to your PC and streams the signal to your TV.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 16:10:02 25-01-2014

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  • Dirtbox 5 Feb 2014 01:52:40 77,712 posts
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    Anyone else have this yet? I want to compare notes. Some games run perfectly, albeit at 30 frames while others are a mess. I'm playing at 1080p on the host which is streaming 720p on the laptop on a wireless network (and a pretty poor one at that) so that would be all of my problems but I'm trying to find a way to smooth it out a bit. They've just added 480p, but it's not working for me at all, it just crashes the streamer.

    Sleeping Dogs is one of the games that runs well:


    While Batman Arkham City runs like a dog.


    Also streaming must take a performance hit on the host, does anyone know by how much?

    Edited by Dirtbox at 01:56:27 05-02-2014

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  • L0cky 5 Feb 2014 08:29:10 1,521 posts
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    Are they leveraging hardware encoders/decoders? If so then it shouldn't give much of a performance hit, if any.

    Might give this a go later, got an old htpc sitting unused. It's low spec (atom) but has a hardware decoder (tegra) so might just work.

    Edited by L0cky at 08:59:11 05-02-2014
  • L0cky 5 Feb 2014 16:40:20 1,521 posts
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    Hmm maybe not, need a beta invite :/
  • Moot_Point 5 Feb 2014 16:44:39 3,983 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    Don't worry, I didn't enjoy it or anything.
    Hehe! :D

    ================================================================================

    mowgli wrote: I thought the 1 married the .2 and founded Islam?

  • CosmicGypsy 5 Feb 2014 16:48:36 5 posts
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    Have had a bit of a look at this with various hardware today. It does seem to be hardware intensive. For example, streaming from a Sandy Bridge i5 was pretty much unplayable. Streaming from an Ivy Bridge i5 was rock solid.

    It all looks a bit of a mess right now, but then that is what Beta is all about I suppose.

    I would say that Chromecast or media streaming boxes would be unlikely if what I have seen today is the standard.

    Serious potential to add extra functionailty to a HTPC/Media Center PC which really interests me. I need to do a lot more testing before I decide whether it is worth reviving my old Athlon 64 X2 system as a streaming box though :)
  • warlockuk 5 Feb 2014 17:40:32 19,151 posts
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    This is the main feature from SteamOS I was looking forward to - so I can play games on my TV. Must give this a try - what's the requirements for the receiving machine?

    I'm a grumpy bastard.

  • THFourteen 5 Feb 2014 17:44:54 33,198 posts
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    Do you still need to wipe your receiver machine to get it to work?

    Would Be interested on my laptop but not at the expense of losing windows on it.
  • L0cky 5 Feb 2014 17:53:42 1,521 posts
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    Should just work with the Steam client as far as I can tell.
  • Dirtbox 5 Feb 2014 18:06:34 77,712 posts
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    warlockuk wrote:
    This is the main feature from SteamOS I was looking forward to - so I can play games on my TV. Must give this a try - what's the requirements for the receiving machine?
    You can stream to a netbook that's on it's last legs but above all else I'd recommend a wired network. Wireless is mysteriously okay for some games and not others, but you're never going to get 60 frames at 1080p on it.

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  • Dirtbox 5 Feb 2014 18:08:03 77,712 posts
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    THFourteen wrote:
    Do you still need to wipe your receiver machine to get it to work?

    Would Be interested on my laptop but not at the expense of losing windows on it.
    Wipe your what? No.

    It's a streamlined VNC, not an OS.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 18:08:19 05-02-2014

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  • Dirtbox 5 Feb 2014 18:12:19 77,712 posts
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    L0cky wrote:
    Are they leveraging hardware encoders/decoders? If so then it shouldn't give much of a performance hit, if any.

    Might give this a go later, got an old htpc sitting unused. It's low spec (atom) but has a hardware decoder (tegra) so might just work.
    Yeah, that HTPC will be fine. You need to join the home streaming group on steam and install the beta client on both machines, then log into both with you account and you've got the full list of games installed on your gaming PC available on the HTPC to stream. Set the HTPS's steam to big picture mode and you've got a games console that can run anything from DayZ to Word.

    The best part is it'll stream to linux, OSX or anything that has a steam client available for it.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 18:14:37 05-02-2014

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  • warlockuk 5 Feb 2014 18:15:28 19,151 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    warlockuk wrote:
    This is the main feature from SteamOS I was looking forward to - so I can play games on my TV. Must give this a try - what's the requirements for the receiving machine?
    You can stream to a netbook that's on it's last legs but above all else I'd recommend a wired network. Wireless is mysteriously okay for some games and not others, but you're never going to get 60 frames at 1080p on it.
    Probably just pushing the bandwidth limit or something, so some games push it over the edge... or transcoding some games produces a smaller stream than others... No idea.
    I've got homeplugs here for upstairs/downstairs so theoretically I could plug the downstairs/front room pc/receiver into the plugs and get a decentish rate streamed. Might give it a go on the laptop or something, just to see how it looks.

    I'm a grumpy bastard.

  • Sharzam 5 Feb 2014 18:16:55 2,832 posts
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    RPS tried it by using a Surface Pro as the client and they said it worked pretty well. Of course the Surface has a relativity beefy CPU just lacks GPU chops.

    The overall impression i got was that it is working and does what it should however it still clearly needs work. It is very much a v1 at the moment but give it time and it has serious potential.

    Known as 'Sharzam' in 98.5% of games

  • monkehhh 5 Feb 2014 18:43:15 3,296 posts
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    Tried from my desktop to a Dell Vostro 3550 laptop with on-board Intel graphics, it wasn't terrible. Laggy and a bit weird, but not terrible. Really need to try properly and more than two games (Spelunky and Far Cry 2).
  • Dirtbox 5 Feb 2014 19:41:49 77,712 posts
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    @warlockuk Do home plugs have full bandwidth? I could google it, but I'm busy and lazy.

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  • warlockuk 5 Feb 2014 21:31:39 19,151 posts
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    @Dirtbox They're 500mb (so that's probably 250down and 250 up - it's a duplex or something, isn't it?)... I probably only get 2/3rd of that speed, so I'd probably get 100-150mbit... though I've yet to test it with a single/bidirectional speed test.

    I'm a grumpy bastard.

  • warlockuk 5 Feb 2014 21:38:53 19,151 posts
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    Ooo just had a thought - I've got a 2008/2009 Core 2 Mac Mini I'm not using. Maybe I could run Steam on that on the TV with the xbox pad as it's got a decent cpu and it isn't too loud or large.

    I'm a grumpy bastard.

  • Tricky 5 Feb 2014 22:37:18 4,374 posts
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    Homeplugs never have full bandwidth - whatever figure they tell you they're capable of is usually absolute bullshit in real world terms. I get maximum 40mb with mine, for example.

    Steam streaming beta is currently not using any hardware encoders on the host side, so you're highly likely to see performance issues - that's the advantage that something like Nvidia's Gamestream has where it's most definitely using the H.264 encoder in the Kepler cards and benefits hugely from that.
  • Dirtbox 5 Feb 2014 22:55:47 77,712 posts
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    I don't know, but it has a checkbox in the settings to turn off hardware encoding. Seems silly putting it there if it's not attached to anything.

    edit: My mistake, hardware decodiong.



    Edited by Dirtbox at 22:57:18 05-02-2014

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  • THFourteen 5 Feb 2014 22:56:09 33,198 posts
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    I don't have beta access unf.
  • Dirtbox 5 Feb 2014 23:04:28 77,712 posts
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    Tricky wrote:
    that's the advantage that something like Nvidia's Gamestream has where it's most definitely using the H.264 encoder in the Kepler cards and benefits hugely from that.
    It's also it's disadvantage, you need specific hardware, and setting up of software aside what you already have. This works fine doing 1080p@60 frames across a LAN on any hardware or OS. Just not with everything (yet), that alone sets it up to kill Gamestream stone dead already.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 02:12:09 06-02-2014

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  • CosmicGypsy 6 Feb 2014 10:27:39 5 posts
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    Tried this on an AMD X2 4200+ and 4XXX series AMD GPU and it was dire. I know it is old kit, but but it should be able to stream and encode. It is certainly better than most Netbooks.

    Looks like there is a lot of work to do for this to be what a lot of use seem to be hoping it will be.
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