At $5, Steam Link is now the cheapest way to play PC games on TV – CNET

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The Steam Link.

Nate Ralph/CNET

I can’t believe the Steam Link is just $5 today. 

Amazon charges $6-$12 for an HDMI cable that’ll pipe video from your PC a maximum of 25 feet away. But the Steam Link can do it from the other side of your house — thanks to the magic of networking. And today, it’s even cheaper than a dumb copper cable.

With this tiny black box, not much bigger than a pack of playing cards, I sling PC games from my upstairs computer down to my living room TV at 1080p resolution, 60 frames per second, wirelessly. Because they’re harnessing the power of my beefy PC graphics card, they look better than anything my (standard) PS4 or Xbox One can achieve.

When my newborn daughter started falling asleep on my arm last year, practically every day, I played through all of XCOM: Enemy Within and XCOM 2 with the Steam Link and an Xbox 360 controller. (It supports my beloved Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter for Windows, PS4 controllers, as well as mouse, keyboard, and a variety of other gamepads.)

There are three USB ports (one’s on the side), an HDMI output and the Ethernet port.

Nate Ralph/CNET

And sometimes, I even use it to access my Windows desktop from my living room. Valve added that feature a while back.

You need to have a pretty great wireless network, obviously — though it’s also got a physical ethernet jack if you want to run a cable. But Valve’s improved the signal over time with software updates, to the point it’s way more reliable than you might have read in early reviews. I don’t use it every day, but that’s mostly because I don’t enjoy mouse and keyboard-style games from the couch. For controller games, it’s great.

If I didn’t already own two of them, I’d buy another right now. It originally cost $50, and I happily spent it. $5 is an absolute steal.

See the Steam Link at Steam | See the Steam Link at GameStop

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