Want to enjoy the latest Steam games on the biggest screen in your house? Valve may have discontinued their physical Steam Link product, but you can still use the software that powered this now-defunct set-top box. Here we will show you how to stream Steam games with Raspberry Pi 4 and Steam Link.
Steam Link and Raspberry Pi
If you own a compatible Raspberry Pi device and are sick of being confined to your laptop or computer screen, then you can use Steam Link to stream any game from your Steam library.
In this article we will go through the steps to set up Stream Link on your Raspberry Pi 4 and then use it to stream your favorite game onto any compatible screen – whether that’s the spare monitor that you haven’t used for years or your brand-new ultra HD TV.
What you’ll need
To complete this tutorial, you’ll need the following:
- A Raspberry Pi 4. Steam Link supports other models of Raspberry Pi, but the steps may vary between devices.
- An SD card that’s compatible with your Raspberry Pi. You’ll be wiping this SD card, so make sure it doesn’t contain anything you want to hang on to.
- A power cable that’s compatible with your Raspberry Pi.
- A micro HDMI cable.
- An external monitor, TV or other compatible screen that will receive the stream from your laptop or PC.
- An external keyboard and a way to attach this keyboard to your Raspberry Pi.
- A laptop or PC that’s capable of running Steam.
- A gaming controller is optional but recommended. Your typical Steam game isn’t designed to be used with a mouse, keyboard or TV remote.
Once you have all these tools, you’re ready to stream games using your Raspberry Pi.
Setup Steam for remote streaming
If you haven’t already installed Steam on your laptop or computer, then:
- Head over to the Steam website.
- Select “Install Steam -> Install Steam Now.”
- Launch the newly-downloaded file and follow the onscreen instructions to install.
- Once installed, launch the Steam app; if you encounter an “Application downloaded from the Internet” warning, then click “Open.”
- If Steam requires an update, then click “OK” to download the latest version.
- At this point, you can either sign into your existing Steam account or create a new one.
If this is your first time using Steam on this particular device, then you’ll need to verify your identity. Steam will email you a security code; simply copy/paste this code into your Steam application and you can start enjoying the latest games on your laptop or PC.
Enable remote play
By default, the Steam application isn’t set up to support remote play, so you’ll need to make some changes to your Steam preferences:
- Launch the Steam app on your PC or laptop.
- In the Steam toolbar select “Steam -> Preferences ….”
- In the subsequent window select “Remote Play.”
- Find the “Enable Remote Play” checkbox and give it a click.
- Select “OK.”
Steam is now set up to support remote play – including streaming games via your Raspberry Pi!
Set Up Raspbian on Raspberry Pi
If you haven’t already, then you’ll need to flash Raspbian to your Raspberry Pi using your favorite image-mounting software.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll be using Etcher, as it’s open source and cross platform:
- On your laptop or computer, download the latest version of Raspbian Buster with desktop.
- Insert the SD card.
- Launch the Etcher application.
- In Etcher, click “Select image” and then choose the Raspian file that you just downloaded.
- Click “Select target,” and then choose your target boot medium.
Etcher will now write the Raspbian system image to your SD card.
Boot your Raspberry Pi
The next step is installing the Steam Link application on your Raspberry Pi 4:
1. Remove the SD card from your laptop or computer and insert it into your Raspberry Pi.
2. Attach your Raspberry Pi to the screen where you want to stream your games: for example, your smart TV or external monitor.
3. Attach your keyboard to the Raspberry Pi device.
4. Plug your Raspberry Pi into a power source. Raspberry Pi should now boot automatically.
If this is your first time booting the Raspberry Pi, then you’ll be greeted by a welcome dialog where you can set your country, time zone, connect to Wi-Fi and configure peripherals such as the keyboard.
5. Once you’ve completed the setup dialog, launch the Raspbian Terminal by clicking the Terminal icon in the toolbar.
6. Make sure your version of Raspbian is up to date by typing the following command into the Terminal:
Now that you’re running the latest and greatest version of Rasbian, you’re ready to install Steam Link.
Install Steam Link on Raspberry Pi
To install the Steam Link software on your Raspberry Pi, run the following Terminal command:
Raspbian will now grab the necessary Steam Link packages. As soon as these packages are installed, you’re ready to start streaming from your PC or laptop to your Raspberry Pi.
To launch Steam Link, run the following Terminal command:
You’ll now be guided through the process of setting up the gaming controller that you want to use, so attach your chosen controller to your external screen. This process will vary between controllers, but by following the onscreen instructions you should be able to connect your favorite controller to Steam Link.
It’s time to start streaming!
Once your controller is attached, you’re ready to start gaming:
1. Navigate back to the main Steam Link screen and select the “Get Started” button.
2. When your laptop or PC appears, give it a click. If your device doesn’t appear, then make sure it’s connected to the same network as your Raspberry Pi.
3. A code will now appear on your external monitor or TV, which you can use to authorize the connection. Switch over to your PC or laptop, and the Steam app should be prompting you for a code; enter the provided code and then click “OK.”
Raspberry Pi will now check the quality of your network, and after a few moments it should successfully connect to your PC or laptop.
As this is your first time streaming via Steam Link, it’s a good idea to select “Settings -> Controller” and then check that you’re happy with how your controller is set up. You should also select “Steaming” and make any necessary changes to your video, audio and input streaming configuration, including the quality of your stream.
Once this setup is out of the way, simply select the game that you want to play and then enjoy some gaming time on the big screen!
When you’re ready to end the session:
- Quit the game that you’re currently playing, which should take you back to the main Steam screen.
- In the toolbar, select the little “Power” icon.
- Click “Stop Remote Play.”
You’ll now be returned to the Raspian desktop, where you can perform all kinds of non-gaming tasks or power down your Raspberry Pi.
Are you using Steam Link and Raspberry Pi to play games on the big screen? Alternatively, if you prefer retro gaming, you can also install Recalbox in Raspberry Pi to play retro games.