At $2.50, Steam Link is now the cheapest way to play PC games on TV
Plus shipping. Still, it's cheaper than most HDMI cables.
Sean HollisterSenior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
I can't believe the Steam Link is just $2.50 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.
(You can find it for $2.50 at Steam. You'll still have to pay shipping, which looks like it'll cost an extra $8.)
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.)
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 was an absolute steal last year, and $2.50 is an impulse buy like few we've ever seen.
Update, June 21, 2018 at 11:28a.m. PT: The Steam Link is now just $2.50 for Valve's Steam Summer Sale 2018 -- half the $5 price that first inspired us to write this article last year. We're republishing it now in honor of the new sale.