You may have heard of this little device, but in case you haven’t, it’s called the Steam Link. It’s a very unassuming box and at first glance appears to be just for playing games and nothing else.

But after picking one up on sale on Amazon for just $19.99, I realized what a unique gem it truly is. Ready to see what makes the Steam Link such a fantastic value? Let’s find out!

Steam Link

So what does it do? The Steam Link is designed for PC gamers that want to play games in their living room. It uses your existing hardware, like a gaming PC located someone where in your home (probably an office or bedroom) that is connected to your network and a TV (probably in your living room or theater) that also has network access nearby and syncs them together. How does it work? Plug the Steam Link into your network with an Ethernet cable, enter the code into your PC (must have Steam installed on the PC you wish to connect to) and boom, you’re now mirroring your main PC screen onto your living room display. Control? No problem. There are three USB ports for whatever peripherals you choose to use. I currently have a keyboard, mouse and Xbox 360 wired controller connected to my Steam Link. Now whether or not you like playing PC games, the Link can still be of use to you. I love playing games any day, but my PC pulls double-duty as a home media server. The Steam Link gives me the ability (for just $20!) to access my stored content without the need for an expensive HTPC (Home Theater PC) or NAS drive. Pretty cool, right?

Steam Link GUI

Did I have to use some crazy hack or mod to do this? Nope, I simply connected my keyboard and mouse to the Steam Link and hit the “Ctrl” and “ESC” buttons. This exits the Steam GUI leaving you with the connected PC’s desktop. I am not kidding, that’s really all there is to it! Now you can access your entire PC, with audio streaming and control via Ethernet!

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I have used it quite a bit and so far I haven’t seen any issues with sound or video. Everything plays and works as it should. No hiccups to report. Just ensure you are using wired Ethernet on both ends and you have a reliable and fast network.

Steam Link Inputs

More Tips

  • It plays music to! It’s a budget friendly way to get audio from your desktop PC to your AV system.
  • Be aware that the Steam Link’s only A/V output is HDMI.<
  • Almost any controller will work; my recommendation is the wired Xbox 360 controller (no batteries!). Wireless works well too, just make sure you have a USB receiver.
  • Look for it on sale! It often drops to just $20 on Amazon and elsewhere. Normally it’s around $45.
  • It includes power adapters for most regions in the box, along with HDMI and Ethernet cables. Everything you need to hook it up is included!

So if you’re looking for alternative to an HTPC, give the Steam Link a try! Comment below if you’ve found more uses for it than I have!