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Steam In-home Streaming now open for business

Valve's strategy to take on the gaming consoles enters a new phase, with its home network game streaming service moving out of beta and into open use.

Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET

Valve's war for the heart and mind of the lounge room gamer continues, with the official launch of Steam In-Home Streaming the latest salvo from the company.

The move from closed beta to open service was announced earlier today via a blog post on the Steam site.

At its simplest, Steam In-Home Streaming allows you to stream games between any two computers on the same network. Both devices need to have Steam installed -- once you've logged into Steam on each computer they connect automatically and you can install, launch, and play games from one computer on the other.

The obvious application is to stream games from a powerful gaming PC on to a home theatre PC connected to a TV, or even a laptop.

However, the service can actually stream Windows-based games on to computers running Linux, MacOS and, of course, Valve's own SteamOS. This makes it an important strategy for Valve's Steam Machine, Steam Controller and SteamOS family -- users can have a small form-factor computer running a dedicated gaming-centric OS, without sacrificing their existing library of Windows games.

While games can currently only be hosted from a Windows PC, Valve is working to expand In-Home Streaming, with Linux, MacOS and SteamOS hosting coming soon.

Combined with the latest iteration of the Steam Controller, this could be the right way of getting PC gamers off the computer chair and on to the couch.