Question Best way to game on the big-screen TV?

Jan 13, 2020
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Brethren, I'm in need of your Geeklord Hivemind wisdom.

I've recently discovered the tremendous joys of hooking up my PC to a 4K 65'' screen (via the old school, low-tech approach of a super long HDMI cable direct from GPU to TV port) and having my mind blown by larger-than-life experiences with Control and Red Dead Redemption 2.

Now my inner minimalist is acting up. Is the super long cable the only reliable way? I've read over the years about Nvidia Shield, Steam Link and other solutions targeted at the hardcore PC gaming crowd. Something wireless would be ideal, so I wouldn't have to keep the computer that close to the TV at all times. I've read good things about the Steam Link but I play games from all launchers and I was worried it might not play as nice with an EGS, RS or Uplay exclusive.

Anyhow, as a desperate, shut-in dad, I no longer have the time or mental fortitude required for extensive research of my own.

So if any of you has a good experience with leveraging a cool-as-**** wireless gaming-on-TV (I play single player, narrative, non competitive games so 60FPS are my dream speed), I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks in advance!
 
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Inspireless Llama

Community Contributor
Dec 20, 2019
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I think that Steam Link and Nvidia shield work pretty decent, but the main thing then is that you need a decent to good internet connection, otherwise it might lag.

What kind of TV do you have? You do need to be able to install the apps onto your device.

Personally I don't use any of these services, I'd prefer a cable at all times haha. Feels more consistant and trustable since you don't have to rely on network. My network can get incredibly slow if too many people are using it, and Steam Link would be useless.
 
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Jan 22, 2020
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I've been making a lot of use of steam remote play on my tablet at the moment with some success, but with numerous caveats.

For starters forget anything above 480 or maybe 720 in practical terms, the output is something like a YouTube stream but with a lot more traffic since it's two-way transmission, sending your controller input back to the pc. If your router is beefy enough you should at least get consistent framerates, but forget twitch gaming. I tend to use it for SRPGs and sims.

You might have a bit more luck with a dedicated solution, a wireless HDMI extender like an AirBridge or similar. Its like bluetooth for video. I've not used it myself so I can't tell you much about them beyond my understanding that they're limited to 1080.

Best of luck finding a solution. I've actually had my own PC exclusively connected to my TV for the last decade, haven't even owned a monitor in that time. Not technically by choice, just space and circumstances, but I've learned to really love it, despite the challenges.
 

Oussebon

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Feb 17, 2020
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There is steam link (actually now Steam Remote Play) as above (can you get the app on your TV?). You can use steam remote play to play non-steam games, you just add them as shortcuts to your steam library which you can do in the steam UI. I've only seen it not work instantly with 1 game over the years.

The steam link hardware box is discontinued, and the hardware was relatively limited.

There's also Moonlight.

If you have an existing, old computer /laptop, you can install Moonlight which lets you stream from your nvidia GPU to the device with Moonlight. Much like Steam Remote Play though we've found the experience a bit better overall. The only thing it doesn't play nice with is multiple monitors (i.e. if the host has 2 screens and a window is on the wrong screen you can't get it to move over)

With either you may notice video compression, since it's being encoded for streaming. How much you see will vary on the game / part of the game you're looking at, and how sensitive you are to these things.

A wired network connection or a very fast wifi connection is best, however.

If you already own a device you can use as the client, these solutions are free so you can try steam remote play via your TV's app or Steam installed on a laptop, and moonlight and see how you feel.

The Shield device is supposed to be very good, and offers a lot of features beyond the game streaming. Apparently its hardware and client are good for Plex.
 
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Jan 13, 2020
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Thank you both for the replies!

I'm a bit of a horrid aesthete, playing in 4K/Ultra and always upgrading my rig to sustain framerates of above 45FPS even in horribly unoptimized new releases. Network speed is not an issue so I might look into the Nvidia Shield as an option for the future :)
 
Jan 14, 2020
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I own an Nvidia Shield and can tell you from experience that the image will look disappointing. I have one hooked up to my LG C9 which supports HDR, but I can't for the life of me get it to work on the Shield. Not only that, but even when it's set to the right video output settings, the Shield's picture quality just looks blurry and dull to me. Switching from the Shield's homescreen to a dedicated app on my TV is like a night and day difference.

There is a caveat to this and that's the fact that I own an original Shield from 2015/2016. The newer models are technically identical because they have the same hardware and run on the same firmware, but I wouldn't be surprised if the compatibility on the newer models is just better somehow.

What I will say is that I hardly ever experience packet loss on my home network. Even at 4K60 the stream only takes about 25Mbps up/down so any modern router that supports QoS will have no trouble coping. The input lag is fairly minimal, about on par with GeForce Now or Google Stadia.

All in all, I had high hopes for my Shield some years ago but I have never used it for any length of time because it seemed like such a disappointment. I promise you that a video connection between your PC and TV is always going to look a million miles better than even the best of streams, and that's before you factor in limitations like framerate, VRR and HDR. Running that long HDMI cable might be a pain, bit if you're serious about quality there's no other way IMO.
 
Jan 13, 2020
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Thanks for sharing your first hand experience, Rensje.

I'm intrigued by the 'Gamestream' tech that it advertises, as I have an Nvidia RTX GPU. Even though I'm highly skeptical of how well it's going to work, I might pick up a model in a couple of years if they are still around.

I'm thinking ahead, once more children arrive, I'll totally need to move the computer out of the living room and this desperate gamer father is looking for the best available compromise at the moment :D
 

Oussebon

Community Contributor
Feb 17, 2020
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If you have another computer or even a smart phone you can basically test it out now, for free.

The workload of Gamestream is done principally by your GPU, which has separate hardware to encode the video. It's been the case since at least Kepler I think (the 600 series of Nvidia GPUs). It's why you can also use Geforce Experience to save gameplay with Shadowplay or stream them online. Geforce Experience also handles the streaming to another device.

You install Moonlight, which works on PC, Mac, Android etc, As they put it:
Moonlight (formerly Limelight) is an open source implementation of NVIDIA's GameStream protocol. We implemented the protocol used by the NVIDIA Shield and wrote a set of 3rd party clients.

Nvidia'a RTX GPUs actually have better video encoding hardware than previous generations. It's not just Nvidia marketing either, the quality gains in fidelity seem to have impressed quite a few users, with comparisons being made to H264 medium for streaming, and some people even finding it viable for handbrake transcoding their media collections (though some do still prefer H264 software encoding ofc).
 

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