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Are my expectations of having video apps on SteamOS realistic?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I do not want to pay the Windows tax and I want to navigate my unit from my bed with a controller. So naturally Steam OS is attractive to me. I plan on building a small AMD dual core APU powered unit for streaming from my gaming PC in the basement. I also want it to replace my Roku as well.

So I guess what I am asking is, will Steam OS have Netflix and Hulu? All I need are those 2 and I might actually follow through with my build. I see no reason why they would not support it considering they probably want to be on as many devices as possible.

On a side note, All I plan on doing is streaming. I have an ITX motherboard picked out that is heavy on the WIFI. I might do a few small indie games locally on it just so I don't have to worry about input lag too much.

Here are my parts

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128663

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113282

The rest is just regular ram, small hdd, mini itx case with whatever psu, ect.
Edited by Thready - 3/4/14 at 11:32pm
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post #2 of 33
Hello and welcome to OCN and the Linux Community

Quick response - Hulu is Flash based. No problem for Linux presently. Netflix requires Microsoft Silverlight which is proprietary. Thankfully, because it runs through a browser some really bright fellows have created a Linux plugin that works in most browsers, called Pipelight, but you may not even need that shortly.

Rumor has it that Microsoft plans to kill Silverlight so until Netflix makes a choice between Flash or HTML 5 they are up in the air. This isn't a big issue, even if Adobe has been coy lately about Linux support. Linux adoption is growing faster than ever before and one has only to look at how fast nVidia came through after Linux chastised them to see that few can afford to ignore Linux anymore. Also, after Adobe said they would release no more Linux updates, it wasn't 2 weeks before they did exactly that.

Are you planning on building a SteamOS box or buying one? Presently SteamOS has some pretty strict hardware requirements so research this carefully if you're building your own.

Incidentally Linux has lots of support for various RF and IR devices. Maybe you don't need SteamOS at all and can get a more fully developed distro that will support remote control. Just recently development of an app that allows just such control from an Android phone was released. It's new and not fully developed but extremely promising.
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post #3 of 33
Steam has plans to get all the popular streaming services working with Steam. They even state so on the SteamOS site.

http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS/
Quote:
We’re working with many of the media services you know and love. Soon we will begin bringing them online, allowing you to access your favorite music and video with Steam and SteamOS.

And the good thing is, if any of them require DRM, well... Steam is a DRM service and could easily accommodate them.



Remember, these will be available for ALL of the Steam clients. Not just their OS. I wouldn't bother with SteamOS myself if I weren't into fiddling, at least not yet. It is still very much beta and has it's own kinks that they need to work out.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post

Rumor has it that Microsoft plans to kill Silverlight so until Netflix makes a choice between Flash or HTML 5 they are up in the air.
It's more than just a rumour. MS have officially stated they're killing Silverlight and even given a deadline, but that's 2021, so we're a loooong way off still.

With regards to the alternatives, Flash doesn't really do DRM (which is why LoveFilm switched from Flash to Silverlight) so Netflix et al would have to switch to HTML5 with DRM (given the Flash / HTML5 choices) and at this point in time I don't think HTML5 DRM will even run on Linux since the developers behind the DRM specification in HTML5 have stated it's not even going to support open source browsers on Windows.

I'm not aware of how the DRM works in Steam, so can't comment on Shrak's points, but from what he posted it does sound more attractive than having DRM inside HTML.
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
+1 everyone

Yeah I am going to build my own with those parts I listed. I only need to be able to stream my big games from my gaming PC in the basement and play indies locally. So I figured that the best option for me was to get a motherboard with great WIFI which is the one that I picked out. I might also do powerline but honestly my laptop has had no problem with input lag over my ASUS N56U router. I also need an inexpensive dual core APU and I think the one I picked out is good. I am not putting a GPU in my machine because I want to keep the entire thing under $450 give or take maybe $20. I picked one of those Silverstone Mini ITX cases that came with a PSU installed. I am also going to get 4GB 1600 RAM and maybe find an inexpensive 250GB HDD. I am probably never going to put more than 100GB on it.

I am also needing an option to stream media from my Synology Diskstation I have in the living room. FYI a Diskstation is just a DIY NAS system. I didn't like what I read about WD and Seagate NAS HDDs online so I just made my own and I love the web browser interface and the customizability. But I do not have many things on there other than Youtube videos I downloaded.

On that note, do you guys think that SteamOS will support NAS viewing? What I really want is to use the keyboard as little as possible. And I am new to Linux but according to the interwebs, it is not impossible to use. I have fiddled with Windows inside and out because I am a redneck DIY user and I use redneck parts like duck tape. I figure that Linux is probably very easy if I learn how to... read tutorials. This concept is lost on many people but it works.

One of my buddies asked me why I pay for Netflix and Hulu and why I don't just torrent my stuff. I told him that the $16 a month combined for those services and the 3 minutes of commercials per Hulu video are much more convenient than messing with torrents and hiding my IP and all of that stuff.

Enorbet I think I would rather use Steam OS because by the time I have the money to build mine it will probably be a lot smoother. The only thing I am confused with is why the system requirements said that it needs 500GB of HDD space. I know for a fact that I will need less than 250GB in my system.
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post #6 of 33
NAS systems should be able to be viewed with no problem.

It would be easier going with Ubuntu or Mint. SteamOS is very much at a beta stage ( hence why it's not on their main site yet ). There's quite a few bugs with it, and overall it's just Debian with Steam and Steams own repositories. It's definitely more for people who want to help bug squash or simply don't mind having bugs or even just slight technical issues. Plus Debian isn't as up to snuff when it comes to packages, and more are made for the likes of Ubuntu being as popular as it is. So it'll be that much easier.

The HDD requirement is for games, the OS itself will only take up maybe 6GB if you're lucky.
post #7 of 33
I watch Netflix everyday with Pipelight while that's not a FOSS thing to do the computer is my TV so. The rest shouldn't be much of an issue..
 
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post #8 of 33
Sweet. This is turning into an interesting thread. Let's recap.

I'm not familiar with that onboard wifi, so someone else will have to comment on it's use in Linux.

Plan9 makes really good points about changing services (and I happen to agree to not wanting DRM built in to HTML) but this will affect Windows almost as much as Linux so it looks like you're on pretty safe ground here for the services you want.

Shrak makes a number of excellent points regarding Steam's ability to step in and handle those services as well. More importantly, despite what you have said, Thready, I very much agree with Shrak that you can do everything you want to do without committing just yet to SteamOS, which really is a work in progress and in very early stages. It might be best to get up to speed on a fully developed distro first. I agree that Ubuntu is easy but I have some problems with Canonical, who makes Ubuntu, and Mint has most of what matters in Ubuntu without all the Canonical junk. Mint would be a very good choice to start, and it's really easy to switch either to some other distro (even while keeping your essential personal stuff) or finally to SteamOS.

I recommend Mint too or this.... go one step further to SolydXK. It's lightweight, Debian based (essentially grew out of Mint) has a choice of KDE or Xfce Desktop versions PLUS ! comes pre-packaged with both PlayOnLinux and Steam. This may be very important to you because it is possible right out of the box to have both a native Linux Steam Client (like SteamOS does) and also a Wine based Steam client, in fact POL can manage multiple versions. This insures the maximum number of games will play without a lot of plodding around. Most importantly they already have a business version out so this is a very serious, stable distro. It's not quite a rolling release but with monthly and quarterly updates that really is a non-issue for most people.

SteamOS is developing very quickly so I'm not certain if this is still true, but afaik it requires some extra work to get it to a full Debian compatible OpSys. It was and maybe still is rather barebones. That may present some unnecessary difficulties in doing all you want to do. Mint is a full distro and Steam client installs easily. SolydXK comes full and with Steam and POL on it as well as ease of access to all drivers.

One more thing, some people report difficulty installing AMD video drivers on Linux, and there is a lot of controversy over OpenSource drivers and the manufacturer's proprietary drivers. Some distros make it difficult to install the better performing proprietary ones. SolydXK, either version, has a greeter screen with the top entry being DRIVERS, and it makes it effortless to install (and blacklist) whatever you want. I haven't used Mint in 2 years so I don't know how they handle this but I just installed a trial of the newest SolydK and though I really didn't want to like it, I do. That's just me. I don't tend to care for Distros that hold your hand while they do things for you, but for a Linux beginner, they work quite well.

One last thing (who let the ghost of Steve Jobs in here ? tongue.gif ) considering you built your own NAS, it seems you aren't afraid to "get your hands dirty" and like to tinker. For this reason and a few others, I'd recommend you not skimp with a 250GB drive. Yes, it is possible to put SteamOS on a drive smaller than 500GB but look around, it's presently a bit of a pita with very little upside. You can easily get a 1 TB drive for around $50 US that will be faster (more likely to take some advantage of your new mobo's latest SATA interface) and have loads of room to tinker away to your heart's content, now and for years to come. Plus, if you install a different distro than SteamOS first, you have time to save up the $50 and make that install a lot easier. If they relax that standard before you get there, well you have plenty of room for lots of games and they do take a lot of space, even with Steam since by default it installs a local copy.

Whatever you choose, best wishes and keep at it. Linux is worth it.
Edited by enorbet2 - 3/5/14 at 3:36pm
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post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your responses!

FIRST! I have to pay towards my Newegg credit which is about $700 and I have to pay $550 of that by July to avoid an interest charge on a laptop. After July I am going to put another $500 on my bill with this project because if you spend $500 then you get a year to pay it off with no interest. I looked at all the parts and they will add up to about $400+ because I haven't made a final decision on RAM or an external DVD drive since the case doesn't have room for an internal one. So my initial estimate of $450 was wrong. I don't know why they gave me a $2000 credit limit since I have no history, but whatever. I use very wise disciprine when using the credit and I never buy over my means anyways.

But this isn't an ad for their service so... So in 4 months from now I am going to look at Steam OS again and if it seems that it is better then I will go ahead and build a PC and get it. I kind of don't want to use Mint or Ubuntu on the PC I am building. I will probably put them on a bootable flash drive and use them on my gaming PC just in case I am bored one day, but my ideal situation is to run Steam OS with a controller. I am going to be putting this thing on my dresser under my wall mounted TV and controlling it with a controller from my bed. I would rather have native, built-in controller support because I am spending a lot on this thing and I don't want to spend $500 and then have to use a workaround solution for controller support. I am sure there are good third party options but I just feel more comfortable if they had support out of the box. However if you guy know of any really reliable versions of Linux that have built in controller support then I could probably be persuaded otherwise. And I do not want XBMC because my buddy uses it and it is kind of a hassle for me. I am the smartest hardware guy in my family (which consists of people who know nothing btw) but when it comes to software I am a bit of a noob.
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Zen
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post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thready View Post

But this isn't an ad for their service so... So in 4 months from now I am going to look at Steam OS again and if it seems that it is better then I will go ahead and build a PC and get it. I kind of don't want to use Mint or Ubuntu on the PC I am building. I will probably put them on a bootable flash drive and use them on my gaming PC just in case I am bored one day, but my ideal situation is to run Steam OS with a controller. I am going to be putting this thing on my dresser under my wall mounted TV and controlling it with a controller from my bed. I would rather have native, built-in controller support because I am spending a lot on this thing and I don't want to spend $500 and then have to use a workaround solution for controller support. I am sure there are good third party options but I just feel more comfortable if they had support out of the box. However if you guy know of any really reliable versions of Linux that have built in controller support then I could probably be persuaded otherwise. And I do not want XBMC because my buddy uses it and it is kind of a hassle for me. I am the smartest hardware guy in my family (which consists of people who know nothing btw) but when it comes to software I am a bit of a noob.

There is NO difference between SteamOS and Mint or Ubuntu.

SteamOS = Debian ( http://www.debian.org/, again nothing special )

The only thing they've done is set up Steam to automatically start on boot, and go to Big Picture mode. You can do this on any machine that you can install Steam on ( Windows, Mac, Linux ) through the settings menu in Steam.

Mint is built on Ubuntu and Ubuntu is built on Debian

Linux Mint Debian Edition ( LMDE ) is built on Debian as well.

See where we're getting at? It's all the same at the end of the day, aside from Steam not really using Debian's package repository but their own, which is what is messing them up.

Controller support is built into the Steam client for Big Picture mode. All ( major ) controllers are basically plug and play when in Big Picture mode.



And quite frankly, you'll have better support on Mint or Ubuntu for anything you do than you will on SteamOS.


There is NOTHING special about SteamOS.
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