Valve launched the Steam Link in 2015, allowing PC gamers to get their favorite titles on their TVs without running extra-long video cables across the house. The company never talked about specific sales figures, but it can’t be a big money maker. Valve has announced it won’t manufacture any more Steam Link hardware, and stock is almost out. In place of the hardware, Valve says it’s focusing on the Steam Link apps.
The Steam Link runs a customized version of Linux with an ARM v7 processor and just 512MB of RAM. It doesn’t have to be powerful, though. It’s just streaming the video from your gaming PC over 802.11ac Wi-Fi or Ethernet, then outputting it to your TV over HDMI. It’s still your PC doing all the heavy lifting.
Valve sells the Link for just $50, or $90 if you want a bundle with the Steam Link and Steam Controller. However, the box also understands keyboard/mouse input as well as Xbox and PS4 controllers.
While Valve isn’t technically discontinuing the Steam Link, the effect is much the same. Whenever the current stock runs out, you won’t be able to get the device anymore. Valve says it will keep supporting the Steam Link with software updates as needed, but the Link doesn’t need frequent updates to pass video through to your TV.
When the Steam Link is gone, Valve will direct gamers to its recently released Steam Link apps. The Android version launched first because of a hangup with Apple’s notoriously stringent app review guidelines. You can get it in the Play Store now, and it works on almost every phone. The Apple variant has been in testing for several months, but it’s not available to the public yet. Valve’s decision to end Steam Link production implies it will have the Apple situation worked out soon.
Mobile streaming is great, but that doesn’t match the Steam Link’s usefulness unless your device has video-out and you want to plug it into the TV. The app does work on Google’s Android TV platform, as well as on Apple TV. Rather, it will work on Apple TV whenever Apple gets around to approving it. There are also several smart TVs that have a Steam Link app built-in.
If dealing with apps and third-party set-top boxes isn’t ideal for you, then it’s time to drop $50 on the Steam Link. This will be your last chance.
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