Valve’s Steam Link is a great way for PC gamers to stream games onto their TV. While the Steam Link hardware is no more, it’s easy to get going with the Steam Link app on Android!
The Steam Link app is available now on the Google Play Store, and you can install it on Android phones, Chromebooks with Android app support, and televisions or set-top boxes running Android TV. For now, Steam Link isn’t available on iOS, and there’s no telling if it ever will be. The Steam Link app is also available on Samsung Smart TVs made after 2016.
Keep in mind: if you already have the physical Steam Link in your home, it’s going to keep working and stay supported for the foreseeable future. But if you want to start using a Steam Link today, you’ll probably have to buy one used.
Thankfully, the Steam Link app on Android works just like the physical Steam Link does. And using it on an Android TV box like the NVIDIA SHIELD TV gives you a one-stop shop for your PC games, games from the Google Play Store, and all your favorite video streaming services.
Steam Link isn’t the only option for PC gamers to get their games on another screen. If you have an NVIDIA GPU, you can use NVIDIA’s GameStream tool to stream games from your desktop to your other devices, or stream them straight from NVIDIA’s servers with NVIDIA GeForce Now.
How to Set Up Steam Link on Your PC
Before using the Steam Link app on any of your devices, you’ll need to do some prep work on your PC. Here is what you’ll need to get started:
- Download and install Steam.
- Download your favorite games to your PC.
- While Steam Link will work over Wi-Fi, you’ll have a much better time if your desktop is wired in with Ethernet.
Open the Steam app on your desktop computer. Select “Steam” in the upper-left, then select “Settings.”
Select “In-Home Streaming” on the left, then check the box next to “Enable streaming.”
Now we’re ready to set up the Steam Link app on your other devices!
How To Set Up Steam Link on Your Android Device
Here’s what you need to get started before using Steam Link:
- A game controller for your device. The SHIELD TV’s included controller works, or you can use a Bluetooth controller with Android TV. You can’t use a Chromebook’s keyboard and touchpad, so you’ll need to use it in touchscreen mode or pair a Bluetooth controller. The same goes for streaming to your smartphone.
- The Steam Link app from the Google Play Store.
- While Steam Link will work over Wi-Fi, you’ll have a much better time if your device (such as Android TV box or Chromebook) is wired in with Ethernet. If plugging in Ethernet isn’t feasible, make sure your device is connected to 5GHz Wi-Fi and sitting as close to your router as possible.
I’m using the Steam Link app on Android TV for this guide, so the screenshots may look slightly different if you’re following along on a Chromebook or smartphone, but the process is still the same.
Start by opening the Steam Link app on your device. Select “Get Started.” The Steam Link app will scan your local network to find a computer with In-Home Streaming enabled. It should find your desktop with no problems, but you can rescan if Steam Link doesn’t find it the first time. Select your computer name.
Note: Steam has to be actively running on your PC before Steam Link can find it.
The Steam Link app will show a four-digit PIN, and you’ll see a notification on Steam on your desktop. Enter the PIN on your desktop and select “OK.”
Steam Link will run a network test to check the connection between your desktop and your device. If one or both of the devices are plugged in with Ethernet, everything should be good. If Steam Link says the connection is too slow, plug into Ethernet, or double check and make sure you’re using a 5GHz Wi-Fi. If it’s still not working, you may need to purchase a faster router. When the connection is fast enough, select “Start Playing.”
Next, you’ll see Steam’s Big Picture interface. This lets you browse the store, message other players, and more from your remote device. When you’re ready to start playing, select “Library.”
If a game is already installed on your home PC, you’ll see a green check mark when you have the title selected.
If not, you’ll see a download icon.
You’ll need to have a game downloaded to your desktop before you can stream it to the other devices. If you do want to download that game to your home PC, select the game, then select “Install.”
Select the game you’d like to stream from your PC to your Android device, then select “Play.”
With that, you have your favorite games streaming to your favorite screen!