8Bitdo Pro 2 wireless controller with a TV in the background
Jordan Gloor / How-To Geek

The phrase PC gaming often evokes images of sitting at a desk bathed in RGB light, clicking away with a mouse, but there’s no reason you can’t take your PC gaming experience and transport it to a comfy couch and TV setup.

Use In-Home Streaming

Folks seem quite happy to stream games from hundreds of miles away, so why not from the other side of your house? You can use Steam in-home streaming (as one example) to beam your game from your computer to a client device.

Client devices can be a variety of things. There are Steam client apps for tablets, phones, smart TVs, and of course, other laptops. So you could, for example, install Steam on your MacBook and hook that up to your TV as a streaming receiver for your gaming PC.

Don’t forget that you can add non-Steam games to the Steam client to launch said games, which means they’ll also work using in-home streaming!

Get a Gaming Laptop

If streaming isn’t your thing, you could always invest in a gaming laptop and then hook it up to your TV or just play with it directly on the couch (plugged in of course) while someone else is using the big screen for Netflix.

There’s not much more to say about that; you can play with a gaming laptop wherever you can find an electrical outlet. You may even want to invest in a lap desk or under-sofa table if you’re not going the TV route.

The Best Gaming Laptops of 2023

Lenovo Legion 7i
Best Gaming Laptop Overall
Lenovo Legion 7i
ASUS TUF Dash 15
Best Budget Laptop for Gaming
ASUS TUF Dash 15
Acer Nitro 5
Best Gaming Laptop Under $1,000
Acer Nitro 5
HP 14
Best Gaming Laptop Under $500
HP 14
Razer Blade 18
Best 17-inch Gaming Laptop
Razer Blade 18

Build a Mini Gaming PC

The great thing about desktop PC gaming is that you can build a computer to any design you like. As long as the components are given enough power and cooling, they’ll happily live in whatever house you give them.

You can get one of the many Mini ITX or other SFF (Small Form Factor) cases on the market and then fill it with components designed to fit in those enclosures. Or you can go all out and create a custom chassis to fit your needs if you know your way around a workshop.

However you do it, it’s possible to build a PC that fits in perfectly next to game consoles, Blu-ray players, and other typical living room gadgets.

Use a Mouse and Keyboard on Your Lap

Everyone knows that you can use a controller with a PC for gaming, but many games just work better with a mouse and keyboard. Wireless mice and keyboards work well enough these days for gaming, especially gaming-specific models but aren’t that easy to use on a couch.

That is unless you have a specialized solution to use these peripherals on your lap. One great example is the ROCCAT SOVA, but you can also just use one of the many lap trays meant for laptops to host your keyboard and mouse if you’re on a strict budget.

ROCCAT SOVA Gaming Lapboard

An elegant solution to playing with a mouse and keyboard from your couch.

Use Video and Peripheral Extenders

It may sound like a silly idea at first, but you could also make your cables really long so that you can lay them from where your PC is to where your couch is. The most effective way to do this is by using Ethernet and a combination of USB-to-Ethernet and HDMI-to-Ethernet converters.

Sure, it’s a pain to install it all neatly and route the cable from point A to point B, but once you’re done, you can easily swap between using your PC from the couch and using it at your desk. If you’re feeling particularly averse to laying cables, you could consider using Powerline Ethernet or HDMI over Powerline. This would use your house’s electrical cabling to carry the data, but Powerline networking is subject to various factors that can limit its bandwidth and increase latency especially if your wiring is on the older side.

RELATED: How to Make a USB Cable Even Longer

Control Your Mouse Pointer With a Gamepad

One significant fly in the ointment of gaming on your PC from the couch is that Windows and other desktop operating systems were not designed to be controlled using a gamepad. If you don’t want to keep a mouse and keyboard within arm’s reach, there are a few ways you can get your controller to act as a mouse to navigate the OS. If you use Steam Big Picture Mode, it will automatically let you move the mouse with the right stick when needed and click with the right trigger.

You can also use apps, such as Gopher 360 or Keysticks, to control your entire Windows computer using a gamepad.

RELATED: How to Make Your Windows Gaming PC Automatically Boot to Big Picture Mode (Like a Steam Machine)

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Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He's worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a focus on Cyberpsychology in particular.
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