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KinoConsole streams PC games to mobile devices

Want to play Portal or GTA V on your smartphone or tablet? KinoConsole brings the action to Android and iOS.

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Portal for iPad, anyone? KinoConsole can stream that and other Steam games. Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

Watch your back, Nvidia Shield. Upstart developers are making it a breeze to stream PC games to mobile devices, at a cost that's hard to beat.

Last month, for example, Remotr brought its game-streaming software to Windows and Android. And, now, KinoConsole offers similar functionality, this time for both Android and iOS.

It works like this: You install the free KinoConsole Windows server on your PC, then grab the KinoConsole app for your phone or tablet. I did some quick testing with it on an iPad Air.

The server automatically scans and adds your Steam library of games, though you can manually add executables as well. When you run the app, you'll immediately see a list of games; then you simply tap one to run it.

Getting started really was that simple, but from there things got a little tricky. I tested KinoConsole with Portal and Tomb Raider, and although I could see the games and their start menus on my iPad, no amount of onscreen dragging or tapping would let me choose "Play."

Fortunately, it's easy to add onscreen controls like D-pads, control sticks and gamepad-style buttons, so with a few tweaks I managed to get both games running. There's also support for external gamepads if you have one. However, although I could still hear audio from my PC, it wasn't coming through on my iPad.

Mostly I messed around with Portal. The 60-fps setting (available only in the $4.99 Pro version of KinoConsole) was choppy, even on my home Wi-Fi network, but the game ran smoothly -- and looked good doing so -- at 30 fps.

Another glitch: Although the app allows you to play games from outside your home network, using Google account credentials to sign in, I could find nowhere within the app to enter those credentials. It merely kept searching for "network (null)."

Needless to say, KinoConsole has room for improvement. But I like how easy it is to set up onscreen controls, and you can't beat the price: the basic version is free. If you have even a passing interest in playing PC games on the go, you should at least give this a try.