The Steam Link Box was a surprisingly popular device. A tiny, simple micro PC designed with one purpose in mind: to stream PC games from Steam to your television via WiFi or ethernet cable. Unfortunately, they have now sold out everywhere and Valve has said it has no plans to make more.
Although the software will continue to be tinkered with, the hardware has reached the end of the road. That’s a problem for those that haven’t already got one and can’t sort one secondhand. While you can now use the Steam Link app for mobile and smart TVs, doing so relies on WiFi, which is more prone to latency issues. In other words, the lack of an ethernet port is a real problem.
Once again, it looks like the Raspberry Pi could save the day. The £32 circuit-board computer now has official support from Valve as the company announced a beta of the Steam Link app for both the Raspberry Pi 3 and 3 B+.
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Unveiled by Valve’s Sam Lantinga on Monday, you just need to ensure you’re running the ‘Stretch’ version of Pi OS and then drop in a few lines of code. “To install, run the following from a command line:
curl -#Of http://media.steampowered.com/steamlink/rpi/steamlink_1.0.4_armhf.deb
sudo dpkg -i steamlink_1.0.4_armhf.deb,” wrote Lantinga.
“To run, you can launch it from the Games menu, or run the following from a command line:
Steamlink. The first time you run it, it will download the full app and create a desktop shortcut, and automatically update as needed.”
Not quite as easy as plugging in a Steam Link Box, but not too far off – and the price is certainly right.
Lantinga has said the team behind it is seeking feedback, but judging by the responses on the Steam forums, things are going pretty smoothly for something in beta. “Finally! I’ve been having to swap my only 3rd and final HDMI port on my TV between my SteamLink and RetroPie for a year now,” wrote one happy user.
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Indeed, the only real complaints people seem to be having is that Valve hasn’t committed to making it open source at any point. Given Raspberry Pi’s popularity with those that like to tinker and code, support for such a move is hardly surprising, but as yet Valve has given no indication that such a move is ever going to be on the table.
Have you tried Steam Link on Raspberry Pi? Impressed? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews