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The thoughts, opinions, happenings, and just plain ramblings of a seemingly boring person.

Steam Home Streaming with Ori

Steam Home StreamingAfter recently getting an Intel NUC primarily for use as a Plex Home Theater (PHT) client, I was forced to install Windows to use PHT because of the general buginess of the OpenELEC-PHT Linux distro.

Turns out that was a blessing in disguise, because having a full Windows computer attached to the TV has made the device so much more handy and flexible for other uses that I never originally intended for it.

Other than being able to easily watch anything you can on a computer on the TV (for example, being really useful for sports streaming), the use that I've most enjoyed it with is as a Steam Home Streaming Client.

Using the NUC, Steam Home Streaming allows me to play games on my TV that are actually being rendered by my proper gaming computer  in the other room (Executor) and its expensive graphics card.

The video and sound are streamed from the gaming computer over my wired home network to the Intel NUC next the TV, and the NUC then relays the controls that I am using on it back to the gaming machine.

Being able to do this is great for games that are more suited to a controller, but that I wouldn't normally play sitting at the PC. For the controls, I am using a surplus PS3 controller that I now have after replacing the malfunctioning PS3 last year.

It's not exactly easy to get Windows to recognise and use the PS3 controller, but essentially you need a dedicated bluetooth adapter for the controller (I bought a cheap $10 dongle so I didn't need to lose normal access to the built-in bluetooth adapter), and then follow this guide to pair and use the PS3 controller as a virtual Xbox 360 controller. (Note: do not follow any guide that use 'MotionJoy' drivers. Those drivers are usually full of ads and malware (and who knows what else)).

After getting it working, the PS3 controller is flawless as a controller for Windows.

The game that I am playing at the moment using Steam Home Streaming is Ori and the Blind Forest. This game is so great, and a perfect example for using the streaming setup (as I probably will never buy an Xbox One).

It's been a pretty good experience so far. Occasionally the game's frame rate will drop and get laggy for some random reason, but usually restarting both computers fixes it. I'm not sure if it might be a graphics driver issue on the gaming computer, or possibly other network traffic affecting the stream, but it seems to be an unpredictable issue. I've played for hours without it occurring, and other times it will happen as soon as I start.

The other big limitation of Steam Home Streaming at the moment is that only stereo audio is supported. This really annoys me, as I have a pretty good 5.1 sound system in my living room! I hope they soon figure out how to stream proper multi-channel audio.

Also, I am really looking forward to the release of the Steam Controller later this year. As someone who can't aim using a thumbstick to save his life, I am really curious to see whether the dual touchpads of the Steam Controller will make it possible for me to play first- and third-person games on the couch with a controller.

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