How to play Steam games on your TV with a Raspberry Pi

PC gaming can deliver some of the best gaming experiences, thanks to thousands of high-quality titles and powerful hardware.

Sometimes it is more suitable to sit in front of a TV and play games, however, and this is difficult to do when your PC is at your desk.

You could purchase a console specifically for gaming on your TV, but you would lose access to the countless library of PC games and would need to shell out a tidy sum for the device.

Fortunately, you can now solve this problem with a decent gaming PC, a good home network configuration, and a Raspberry Pi – specifically the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B or B+.

This solution is thanks to Valve releasing an official Steam Link app for the Raspberry Pi.

If you have a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B or Model B+ and would like to use it to play Steam games on your TV, we have outlined the set-up process below.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Setting up Steam Link

To set up your Raspberry Pi as a Steam Link streaming device, you will need the following hardware:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B/B+
  • MicroSD card with at least 8GB of storage
  • Pi 3 Power Supply
  • Ethernet connection
  • Gaming PC with Steam installed

The first step is to install the latest version of Raspbian onto the MicroSD card, which can be done either by installing NOOBS on the card and selecting to install Raspbian or manually downloading the OS image and writing it to the MicroSD card.

Once you have installed Raspbian and inserted the MicroSD card into your Pi, boot up your gaming PC and log in to Steam.

You then connect your Pi via Ethernet to the same network as your PC and open a terminal window to type in the following:

sudo apt update

sudo apt install steamlink

The Steam Link app can be launched from in the Raspberry Pi’s operating system or by typing “steamlink” into the terminal window.

Now that Steam Link is installed, you can connect your Raspberry Pi to your TV via HDMI and begin playing the titles installed on your gaming PC.

The Steam Link app supports Xbox One and Steam controllers, and can be configured to adapt streaming quality according to the stability of your home network connection.

Steam Link and controller

Streaming to your TV

If you find the latency and quality of the stream is poor, you should ensure that you change your Streaming settings in the app accordingly.

You should try to stream over a wired connection if possible, as wireless streaming is much less stable. If you have to stream wirelessly, Steam has a dedicated page for improving network performance.

Controllers cannot be used in Bluetooth mode with the Steam Link app on the Pi, despite the device’s Bluetooth support.

Gamers can connect supported wireless dongles and use them for wireless play however, and these have the advantage of lower latency than Bluetooth controllers.

Changing streaming quality from to “Balanced” or “Fast” will result in a smoother gaming experience at the cost of visual quality.

An official Steam Link app for the Raspberry Pi makes it much easier for users to set up in-home game streaming, and means the versatile little computer could be a great replacement for a standalone gaming console in the living room.

Now read: Top analyst sees video game industry slumping in 2019

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How to play Steam games on your TV with a Raspberry Pi