Valve’s Steam Link is a sleek, easy way to stream games from your PC to a TV elsewhere in your home. You connect the Steam Link to your PC via HDMI, connect a controller, and play. It uses Steam In-Home Streaming, which you can use with any PC, but the Steam Link offers a cheap, optimized streaming receiver you can connect to your TV.
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How to Set Up Your Steam Link
The Steam Link is easy to set up. First, install Steam on one of your PCs, launch it, and then sign in with your account. If you already use Steam, you’ve already done this—just make sure Steam is running.
Second, connect the Steam Link to a power source with its included power adapter, and then connect it to your TV with its included HDMI cable.
Third, plug a Steam Controller, any USB keyboard and mouse, a wired or wireless Xbox 360 controller, a wired Xbox One controller, or a Logitech F710 wireless gamepad into a USB port on the Steam Link to control it. The Steam Link has three USB ports, so you can plug in up to three devices. You can also connect wireless devices to your Steam Link via Bluetooth later.
When you’re done with those basics, turn on your TV and switch it to the HDMI input the Steam Link is connected to.
Use the instructions on your screen to set up your Steam Link and connect to the PC running Steam. The process quick and simple, and involves joining a Wi-Fi network (if you’re not using Ethernet), setting up some basic picture settings, and choosing the PC on your network that’s running Steam. You’ll be prompted to enter a code shown on your TV into Steam on your PC to confirm the pairing process.
You can then select the PC running Steam on the main Steam Link dashboard and either press the “A” button on a controller, click “Start Playing” with a mouse, or press Enter on a keyboard. The Steam Big Picture Mode interface appears and you can use it to launch and play games as if you were sitting in front of the PC.
If you want to customize the Steam Link settings, you’ll need to select “Settings” on the main screen here. Once you select a PC, you’ll be in Big Picture Mode, streamed from the PC itself. Many settings for customizing the Steam Link are only available on the main screen here.
How to Improve Your Streaming Performance
There will always be a little bit of latency (or “lag”) with the Steam Link because the games you’re playing are actually running on your computer. However, there are ways to minimize the latency and make the stream perform better.
First, you should use a wired Ethernet connection for your Steam Link, if possible. Connect the Steam Link to your router using an Ethernet cable. You should ideally connect the gaming PC you’ll be streaming from to the same router via a wired Ethernet cable, too. This is the single most important thing you can do to get good performance from your game streaming. Powerline networking may work better than wireless networking in some situations, but standard Ethernet cables…
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