I got notified yesterday that I was accepted into the Steam In-Home Streaming beta, which is weird because I don't remember applying for it, but whatever. I tried it out last night and wanted to share my thoughts. This is something I'm getting excited for since my gaming PC is tucked away from everything else in the house, and it would let me play games from the couch while hanging out with the family.
I'll list some detailed tech specs below but the short version is beefy gaming PC streaming to underpowered HTPC over 802.11n. After getting the HTPC connected to Steam I started off with Rogue Legacy. Immediately I ran into an issue - I had a 360 controller hooked up to my gaming PC and so all the control prompts showed those. I have no idea how to play Rogue Legacy with a keyboard, so I hooked up a 360 controller and started playing. It was playable, but a little laggy. I didn't get too far into it before I had to hop out so I don't have much more to say about that.
After I got back I tried out Skyrim. It just didn't work. To be more specific it got to the smokey loading screen and then just kept showing tips without actually displaying the game. I then ran upstairs to my PC and found that it had been idling in-game, but Steam Streaming was still streaming the loading screen. Proof that it's still a beta. The same thing happened when I tried Batman: Arkham City, loading screen on the HDTV but actual game on the HTPC.
But there is good news. I tried Batman: Arkham Origins figuring the loading-screen thing was fixed in newer games (different versions of DX?) and after a much-longer-than-normal loading process I was able to get the game running. It was a little laggy (hard to counter enemies with knives) but playable. I spent an hour or so playing and while it wasn't nearly as nice as playing on my computer it was do-able. I have high-hopes that it will improve as the beta goes on and I improve some of my gear.
So here are the tech specs I promised:
Gaming PC is GTX 770, Intel i5-3570k @ 3.4GHz, 16 GB RAM (overkill, I know) connected to 802.11n (which I'm going to be trying to replace with powerline networking this weekend)
HTPC is an Acer Revo, AMD E-450 @1.65GHz with on-board Radeon HD 6320, 4 GB RAM. The thing can do 1080p video but can't do 720p Netflix (thanks Silverlight!)
Steam was estimating network bandwidth at 17-18MB/s (pretty sure it was Byte and not bit)
The beta lets you show a lot of tech specs in an overlay. I was getting 10-30 fps and when the FPS was low it was usually due to decoding delays (e.g. slow HTPC). Steam determined that my poor HTPC was best off if we rendered @ 1066x600, so it rendered the game at 1080p on my gaming PC and then streamed at 600p resolution.
Final thoughts: I would be happy playing Skyrim on the couch at 30fps but I'll go to my PC to play BF4 with a mouse/keyboard and no input lag. I really hope that they continue to improve this, which I believe they will to add some value to Steam Machines.
Final final thought: I'm new to the community so I hope this is the kind of discussion you guys are looking for. If not, constructive feedback is welcome.