Idea for Bringing Steam into the Living Room (no it’s not another set top box)

2 months ago I had a radical idea, which today I’ve learned Valve has already been working on. If it’s what I think it is, it will change everything. I don’t think the majority of people want another set top box like GoogleTV and AppleTV? And what if everyone was wrong about the PC dying out? I think the PC is just getting started and I’m sure Valve does too. Just 1 hour ago I read about Valve working on “Big Picture” mode for Steam which will allow Steam games and content to be played on any TV in the house. So they beat me to it. Damn, lol it would have looked amazing in my portfolio. I think we’re both talking about the same technology. Here’s my version anyway.

█ The Steam console is really your TV displaying and interacting with your PC wirelessly.

You’ve had the Steam console all along, you just didn’t know it. All you have to do to enable “console mode” is to buy the wireless adapter set so your PC can stream video + audio to your TV, and stream back controller input. Wireless HDMI, wireless audio, wireless USB are all existing technologies, there’s nothing new about these 3. Just combine them into one package, create a new UI (custom tailored for television screens) for Steam that activates when it’s displayed through a TV, add controller support for the steam client, and code the necessary device drivers for mac and pc, etc…

█ Control your PC from your Living Room.

Steam Console = Your PC streaming video + audio + usb controller input wirelessly from your PC to your TV in the living room so you get a powerful gaming experience without having to buy a separate console for powerful graphics rendering.

Here’s how it would work:

  • You would hook up a wireless adapter to your computer (probably the HDMI or DVI port and a USB port) and hook up the other adapter to the Audio connectors and the HDMI port of your TV.
  • When you turn on your TV and go to the input channel you’ll see your PC’s Desktop.
  • The adapter for the TV would have a USB port or two for controller / keyboard / mouse connectivity, or you would be able to sync your wireless controller with it so you can controll your PC from your living room.
  • Launching Steam from the TV would open an alternate UI for Steam that’s optimized for navigating on a TV screen.
  • Play your games in the living room with Steam, watch movies on Amazon unboxed, listen to music, check email, twitter, facebook, watch Netflix, and bittorrent movies, all without having to buy another set top box like GoogleTV / AppleTV / Boxee / Roku / etc…

█ The PC is a superior all-in-one device, what held it back was the inability to infiltrate the living room like consoles did.

PCs are all-in-one beauties. They are game consoles + movie players + entertainment centers + work stations + word processors + DVRs + and video conferencing systems all wrapped up into one device. And consumers LOVE all-in-one devices. Consumers didn’t want to carry around a camera, an mp3 player, a GPS device, a PDA, portable game console, and a phone, so instead they started buying smart phones like the iPhone, which had everything they needed in one device. Likewise consumers also don’t want to have a cable box, 3 game consoles, a TiVo DVR, and AppleTV / Boxee / GoogleTV / Roku  next to their television. They want an all-in-one device. And the PC is that magical device that does it all. It just needs to be packaged correctly and streamed to the right room.

█ While game consoles and set top boxes are safe, easy, and secure, they’re really just dumbed down, crippled computers with walled gardens.

Desktop PCs, on the other hand, can do anything you want, just find the software and install it, no one’s there to prevent you from doing that, and now that freedom extends to your living room TV, which has been crippled and censored for decades by the FCC, cable companies, Microsoft, Apple, Sony, and many others.

MS and Sony have been saying for years how they want their consoles to “take over your living room”, yet here we are in 2011 and we still can’t browse the web on our 360 or use our PS3 as a DVR. Also, it took years just to get Netflix onto consoles and set top boxes because of licensing issues. PCs on the other hand, have DVR, Netflix, Amazon video on demand, iTunes, Bittorent, YouTube, Facebook, etc… and now you can get them all on your TV without buying another console or set top box.

See, when you buy an Xbox 360 or PS3 you are stuck with what Microsoft or Sony let you experience through their censored walled off gardens. They have to approve your games and they have to approve your DLC. When you buy a Wii, you’re at the mercy of Nintendo. You don’t get custom mods and community maps, nor do you get free DLC packs like PC players do. When you buy a PC it’s a free-for-all open market. If Sony or MS don’t have what you want you can zip on over to Amazon’s video on demand. If Amazon doesn’t have what you want you can bittorrent it. Don’t like iTunes? Switch to Winamp or VLC or the hundreds of other players out there.

That’s why this is going to change everything because more people own a PC than people own a console. So this allows Valve to reach extraordinary amounts of people very quickly.

█ A few hours ago Valve Announced “Big Screen” mode for Steam, is this the same as my “Steam Console” concept? I think so.

Steam owner Valve has announced that it has developed a new “big screen” technology which will allow access to Steam content on televisions, with added navigation and controller options to match.

“With big picture mode, gaming opportunities for Steam partners and customers become possible via PCs and Macs on any TV or computer display in the house.”

Sounds like we’re talking about the same thing. They must have been working on this for at least a year and I’m glad this innovative victory is going to go to Valve, they deserve it. However, if they don’t haul ass and get movies and music onto Steam, Apple will quickly release their own “Wireless Bridge” so consumers can play their movies, tv shows, and music on their TVs through their mac or pc without needing one of those stupid AppleTV set top boxes.

Things are getting very interesting. As a UI guy, I only wish I had a part in it. I hope Valve takes off full speed ahead with this and doesn’t dick around like they did with adding video to Steam (which still isn’t here).

(BTW, I made the Steam logo in the picture, it was part of a re-branding mockup I made a few months back but haven’t posted yet. There’s a LOT from last year that I haven’t posted yet)


  1. U8t4u89 says:

     They’re never going to sell movies and music on Steam. You need to take that part out of your equation.