Gamers who own a 2016 or later Samsung Smart TV can now stream games from their Steam libraries directly to their smart TVs.
PC gamers who own a Samsung Smart TV and want to stream games from their Steam library over their local network without using the Steam Link media centre can now start using the new Steam Link app. The catch is that they have to own a Samsung Smart TV model from either 2016 or 2017. The app is still in beta, so you can expect some minor bugs, and is currently available via Samsung Smart Hub.
“Expect 1080p video playback at up to 60 FPS and Steam Controller support during the beta phase,” Valve said in June. “After global release in the late summer, users can expect support for up to 4K video and the addition of additional drivers.”
The Steam Link app is based on the same technology that powers the other streaming services Steam has provided. For the uninitiated, It all starts with a gaming PC logged into Steam and connected to your local network. The device we’ll be streaming to (in our case, a TV) must also be logged into the Steam platform and connected to the same local network as the computer. If you want to stream in high quality, we recommend using a wired connection.
However, Valve also offers the option of getting a separate media centre called a Steam Link box. You then stream to this device and connect it directly to the TV. The device usually sells for around 1,350 CZK. The device provides streaming via Big Picture on your computer, providing a similar interface to that of a gaming console. It’s compatible with a keyboard and mouse, Valve’s Steam Controller and other controllers, such as for Xbox 360, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Steam Link was first introduced to the market in early 2015 as part of Valve’s Steam Machines initiative. The company wanted this initiative to directly compete with living room consoles by producing powerful, small computers capable of high-definition computer gaming. The initiative also included the creation of a universal controller (Steam Controller) and set-top box (Steam Link) to extend the experience of Steam Machines and any other gaming PC.
The first rumblings of a Samsung Smart TV app that would remove the need for a Steam Link set-top box appeared in October 2016. In June, Valve told us that the app would require their Steam Controller. So far, however, it seems that a regular Xbox 360 controller can be used. Streaming through the Steam Link app is completely free in our country.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a collaboration between a game streaming service and a smart TV. LG has signed a deal with the paid streaming service OnLive to add the app to all LG-branded Android-based TVs. Sony has added the PlayStation Now app as a game streaming service that runs on BRAVIA smart TVs alongside their TV streaming app, PlayStation Vue.
Samsung customers who own pre-2016 TVs may not be able to use the Steam Link app due to weak components in the TV. The Steam Link set-top box is powered by a Marvell DE3005 processor and GC1000 graphics chip, along with memory, storage and networking components. Older Samsung Smart TVs are likely to require the same components, or even better, to stream using Steam Link.