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Android Cellphones Displays IOS Software Games Hardware Technology

With Steam Link App, Your Smartphone Can Be An Imperfect Gaming Monitor (arstechnica.com) 47

Ars Technica's Kyle Orland shares his experience with Valve's recently announced Steam Link app, which lets users play games running on a PC via a tablet, mobile phone, or Apple TV on the same network. The app launches today for Android 5.0+ devices; iOS support is "pending further review from Apple." From the report: Valve isn't kidding when it says a Wi-Fi router in the 5Ghz band is required for wireless streaming. I first tested iPad streaming on the low-end 2.4Ghz router provided with my Verizon FiOS subscription (an Actiontec MI424WR), with a wired Ethernet connection to my Windows gaming rig on the other end. The Steam Link network test warned me that "your network may not work well with Steam Link," thanks to 1- to 2-percent frame loss and about 15ms of "network variance," depending on when I tested. Even graphically simple games like The Binding of Isaac ran at an unplayably slowed-down rate on this connection, with frequent dropped inputs to boot.

Switching over to a 5GHz tri-band router (The Netgear Nighthawk X6, to be precise), the same network test reported a "fantastic" connection that "look[s] like it will work well with Steam." On this router, remotely played games ran incredibly smoothly at the iPad's full 1080p resolution, with total round-trip display latency ranging anywhere from 50 to 150ms, according to Steam Link's reports (and one-way "input lag" of less than 1ms). At that level of delay, playing felt practically indistinguishable from playing directly on the computer, with no noticeable gameplay impact even on quick-response titles like Cuphead.

With Steam Link App, Your Smartphone Can Be An Imperfect Gaming Monitor

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  • latency ranging anywhere from 50 to 150ms

    Self confessed ping snob here. If the latency is over 100, or worse, if it keeps changing between 50 and 150, that would drive me bonkers. In fact for online play existing network lag absolutely does bug the hell out of me. Perhaps for casual slow paced games this might be acceptable, but not for fast paced twitch gaming. But then again if you are using a phone or tablet screen with ??? as the input device, well I guess you are already willing to settle for compromises.

  • VNC works fine but If it's possible to game at 1080P with low latency it should also be possible to navigate a windows folder without a noticeable lag as reloads the screen.
    trying to watch video on a remote system is a automatic slideshow yet they are managing 60fps with the steam link.

  • FWIW, although you definitely want the 5 gHz band, I have been playing with this on my Galaxy Tab 3 with standard issue 2.4 gHz TP-link router running OpenWRT. My experience is nothing like this review. It's very playable, with occasional stuttering. Pretty responsive even on titles such as Dead Cells.
    • by dohzer ( 867770 )

      He probably lives in one of those places where the 2.4GHz spectrum is saturated, and most people don't have/enable the 5GHz (yes, the 'G' needs to be a capital for giga) capability.

      • Bingo.
        My game PC hasn't been connected to a monitor in ages. All streaming via Steam In-Home Streaming to either my Steam Link or my laptop, or Nvidia's GameStream + moonlight.
        While 2.4Ghz N can have enough bandwidth for it, it's very rare for it to be able to successfully push that bandwidth across the link unless you're in a *very* unsaturated area (I am not- I can see ~50 2.4 APs)
        I need 5Ghz AC to stream without stuttering. 5Ghz N works with occasional stuttering. 2.4Ghz is just unusable.
        At my dad's
  • >"With Steam Link App, Your Smartphone"
    >"tablet, mobile phone, or Apple TV"
    >"launches today for Android 5.0+ devices; iOS support is pending further review from Apple."

    >"I first tested iPad"
    >"iPad's full"

    Exactly where does an "ipad" fit with "smartphone" or Android? They pretty much imply the only released client from the three is Android, and the review is about an ipad? Yes, I even read the article... same thing. There is no "first tested ipad", that was the ONLY thing tested in the arti

  • Valve isn't kidding when it says a Wi-Fi router in the 5Ghz band is required for wireless streaming.

    This is completely false. Of course it works better over a wired LAN connection, but I've used SteamLink without problems over 2.4GHz Wi-Fi even with cheap shit DLink, Netgear and (Cisco-)Linksys routers. Maybe the problem is the OP's Actiontec MI424WR and/or local interference (e.g.: from unshielded Chinese microwave ovens).

    • Long time SteamLink + nVidia GameStream user, here. I am one of the (huge majority) of 2.4Ghz wireless users that it doesn't work for, that you can read all about on the support forums. I suspect it has to do with interference. I live in a condominium, so 2.4Ghz is insanely cluttered. Bad enough that I often can't stream Netflix, even. 5Ghz is clean as a whistle.
      Valve doesn't say you "need" 5Ghz, they highly recommend it, because otherwise, you're likely to have problems. That doesn't mean you will for sur
  • Even graphically simple games like The Binding of Isaac ran at an unplayably slowed-down rate on this connection, with frequent dropped inputs to boot.

    This is awful. But I have to scratch my head and ask WHY?!!? You can use in-home streaming between devices on some pretty lousy wifi and it works great?

    • This is just in-home streaming. Your performance will mirror your in-home streaming to any other device connected via the same medium.
      For the vast majority of 2.4Ghz users, that's terrible.
      The game doesn't matter- Binding of Isaac, or Crysis 12. The encoder isn't the slow part, it's the network bandwidth over congested 2.4Ghz spectrum.
  • by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Friday May 18, 2018 @01:02AM (#56630966)

    Confusing article with annedoctal evidence. Dismissed.

  • by MSTCrow5429 ( 642744 ) on Friday May 18, 2018 @02:11AM (#56631176)

    'iOS support is "pending further review from Apple."'

    "games ran incredibly smoothly at the iPad's full 1080p resolution."

    What?

    • Maybe it was a development build of the app running on an iPad provided by Valve, while they still wait for approval to put it on the store?

  • by sad_ ( 7868 ) on Friday May 18, 2018 @06:29AM (#56631764) Homepage

    this is also great use for those plenty available android boxes, you can have kodi on it and the steam streaming app with a wired interface. it should be easy to use a steam controller with those as you can plug in the dongle into one of the free usb ports you will most likely still have available. i need to test this out, it could mean i no longer need my link.

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Friday May 18, 2018 @09:03AM (#56632320)
    So I need to be in my home, on a 5 GHz wifi network (presumably non congested) with my Gaming PC on and running a game in order to play games on a tablet...

    Why wouldn't I just use my gaming PC? Or my Laptop that has much of my Steam library on it?

    Seems a lot of pissfarting around to play games on a screen 1/3 a big as my gaming PC, slower than my gaming PC and with peripherals far inferior than my gaming PC.
    • by mccalli ( 323026 )
      If your gaming PC is hooked up to the TV, as mine is, the Steam Link app will be useful if the TV's in use for something else. I also have the hardware, and I used it in reverse for a while - 'PC' (actually a dual-booting iMac) was in the study, and the Steam Link hooked up to the TV downstairs. Also worked surprisingly well.
    • I have used the Xbox streaming feature this week to great effect. My wife needed to use my computer so I just streamed my Xbox to my Surface. I didn't notice any latency issues. Sure the Surface's 13" screen is a tiny fraction of the size of my 75" TV but it was big enough.

      I really like the idea though of playing a game like Battletech on a tablet in a chair. I can do that on a surface but if you only have an ipad that would be a nice feature to have.

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