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Valve Officially Launches TV-Friendly Steam Big Picture Mode 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the as-seen-on-tv dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Valve on Monday announced the public release of Big Picture, Steam's new mode that lets gamers access their games on a TV, in over 20 languages. Big Picture lets you use a traditional gamepad (as well as a keyboard and mouse) to access the complete Steam store and Steam Community from the comfort of the couch in your living room."
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Valve Officially Launches TV-Friendly Steam Big Picture Mode

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  • "If you're a Steam user, you can set up Big Picture by simply by connecting your PC or Mac to your TV via a single HDMI cable."

    So what kept you from doing that last month, or last year?

    • by decipher_saint (72686) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:57PM (#42173937) Homepage

      Nothing at all, except now you can do it with a gamepad-friendly interface.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968)

      "If you're a Steam user, you can set up Big Picture by simply by connecting your PC or Mac to your TV via a single HDMI cable."

      So what kept you from doing that last month, or last year?

      Big Picture didn't exist last year, and last month you could do it but it was still in beta.

    • by Rennt (582550)
      Existential issues.
  • Great, new features added to Steam. But their OS X client is still the slowest and most bloated software I've ever used.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Steam for Mac has a memory leak relating to the way it handles windows (insert joke here). Instead of closing windows it just hides them. This can cause memory to skyrocket.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      But their OS X client is still the slowest and most bloated software I've ever used.

      How is it 'bloated'?

    • by OhPlz (168413)

      So it's kind of like running iTunes on Windows?

    • by chrish (4714)

      In my recent experience (trying to play The Witcher on my MacBook Pro) it's irrelevant because the unstable games (ones using Wine wrappers) will have to logging out and/or rebooting every hour or so anyway.

      TF2 has been very stable though.

      Apple's proven time and again that they're not at all interested in gaming on Mac OS X, I don't know why I even bother trying. They love it on iOS, of course.

      Rebooting to play games is such a pain though.

  • Valve has a winner (Score:5, Informative)

    by Suiggy (1544213) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:16PM (#42174107)

    I've been using this mode in the Linux beta of Steam. It's pretty nice, it's up there with the XBox 360 and PS3 media interfaces.

    • by BradleyUffner (103496) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:20PM (#42174153) Homepage

      ...it's up there with the XBox 360...

      It's jam-packed full of advertising, leaving 1/10th of the screen for actual content?

      • by Suiggy (1544213)

        Minus the advertising. I was referring more to the aesthetics and design choices.

      • by Qzukk (229616) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:38PM (#42174297) Journal

        It's jam-packed full of advertising, leaving 1/10th of the screen for actual content?

        I opened up Steam and got that before I even hit the big picture button!

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        ...it's up there with the XBox 360...

        It's jam-packed full of advertising, leaving 1/10th of the screen for actual content?

        What 'actual content'? When i'm looking at 'actual content' on my xbox i don't see any advertising.

      • by Richy_T (111409)

        You have to sit around for 15 minutes waiting for updates anytime you want to use it?

    • How are you running big picture in Linux? I'm using ubuntu 64/wine, with wine configured to win7, and, when i switch to big picture I get an error that DWrite.dll is missing...
    • by mikael_j (106439)

      I tried this mode on the OS X client recently and it was extremely clunky and was mostly a pain in the ass to work with.

      It's a great first try at a ten foot interface but they've definitely got some work to do.

    • I got Deus Ex for the PS3 when it came out and played it through, enjoyed it a lot. But now the missus take a lot of the TV time so I don't have that much access to it. So I got it for 4€ in the autumn sale on the PC and (no surprise) the UI is different on the PC (the 10 shortcuts for keyboard). Can anyone tell me if when I use a controller (and Big Screen) so that when I do have some TV time I can play it with controller, does the game/steam change the UI to the PS3/XBOX layout when you switch to con

  • From what I understand, I still need a beefy PC to make this work. So, how's this any different than hooking up my video card's HDMI output straight into my TV set?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The gamepad-friendly interface is the news here. It was an annoyance to have to grab a keyboard and mouse just to switch between games.

    Now that TV is 1080P, all computers have a TV friendly interface.

  • LAN Streaming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Githaron (2462596) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:29PM (#42174231)
    They should consider creating making a LAN version of game streaming, you have a small thin client hooked up to your TV but all all the work is done by your beast desktop in the next room. The biggest hindrance to their current setup is that most people don't have their computer hooked up to their TV because they use it for other things than just gaming. They could call it Steaming (Steam + Streaming). :)
    • why just a HDMI and USB over TCP/IP box.

      • by Githaron (2462596)
        Most people don't want to go through the trouble. Besides, I was thinking of something a little bit more refined. It would be even more awesome if you could use a beefy machine as a server of sorts by allowing multiple instances running at once so at multiple people can game at once with one computer.
        • It would be even more awesome if you could use a beefy machine as a server of sorts by allowing multiple instances running at once so at multiple people can game at once with one computer.

          So something like NComputing thin clients [wikipedia.org]? They had those at the last place I worked, and they were slow to respond to keypresses and mouse movements. We replaced them with cheap Ubuntu boxes for accessing our internal web applications, which freed up the Windows boxes for people who really needed access to Access. I'd rather buy or build a second PC, put it in my living room, connect its HDMI out to the HDTV's HDMI in, plug three Xbox 360 Controllers into the PC, and start Trine.

        • by exomondo (1725132)
          Welcome to the old days of the mainframe! You'd need a system that is powerful enough to play multiple instances of the game but also with enough power to encode multiple audio and 1080p video streams, then you need each client to be powerful enough to be able to decode that stream on the fly as well without buffering. That's certainly more effort than it's worth.
    • by Microlith (54737)

      Steam Pipe

    • by a0me (1422855)

      They should consider creating making a LAN version of game streaming, you have a small thin client hooked up to your TV but all all the work is done by your beast desktop in the next room. The biggest hindrance to their current setup is that most people don't have their computer hooked up to their TV because they use it for other things than just gaming. They could call it Steaming (Steam + Streaming). :)

      Apple TV

    • The biggest hindrance to their current setup is that most people don't have their computer hooked up to their TV because they use it for other things than just gaming.

      I'd have to disagree: the biggest hindrance is that "computer" is singular. Instead of buying a PC for the computer desk and an Xbox 360 for the TV, why not buy a PC for the computer desk and a PC for the TV?

    • by ledow (319597)

      OnLive for local LAN, run from your own PC, you mean?

      It would suffer the same problems as OnLive, plus others.

      You would get more lag, especially with screen compression / decompression (which you would still need because otherwise people would moan that it's jerky on their 56Mbps wireless, etc.). Your CPU use on the machine playing the game would rise, cutting FPS (it would be similar to running FRAPS saving onto a remote network share, for instance). Your machine doing the receiving would need to be quit

  • by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Monday December 03, 2012 @08:36PM (#42174753)

    They need to add the ability to browse my media library and access internet media content since gaming on a console is becoming secondary to media.

  • Typing on a gamepad sucks. Period. That said, the typing mechanism in Steam for the gamepad sucks considerably less than anything else I've tried (post learning curve).
  • Big Picture is pretty, controller-friendly and, imo, a great user experience... or, it would be if:
    a) it didn't flatline one of my cores whilst it's active
    b) every single trailer on it didn't crash within a few seconds of starting. I'm not alone on this -- there's a (small) thread on the steam forums.

    These problems have been here during the beta and persist now that it's live.

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