We know it’s nice to play console games on the big screen while sitting on the couch, you have such a larger selection of games to play on the PC. Here’s a way to play those PC games from the couch.
Until relatively recently, the simplest solution to this conundrum was to just bring your gaming PC to the living room and connect up to your TV via HDMI cable.
This is no longer the case, now you can connect your NVIDIA Shield to the TV and either stream games from the web or else stream them from your gaming PC located on the same network.
Living Room Gaming
There are times when it’s fun to just play a quick game of FIFA or NBA in front of the TV, it’s good fun and it is great for playing with friends. There are also times, however, when you’d love to be able to play a long session of the latest Civilization game or run rampant in a World of Warcraft battleground.
To do the latter, you’d need to be running the games from your PC, and it’s not always feasible to connect up your gaming PC to the living room TV. The way around this is to go with the NVIDIA Shield box.
This small device is an Android box that connects to your TV and will let you either stream games over your broadband connection or from your PC located on your home network.
The nice thing about this is that the system uses the horsepower of your PC and graphics card and will send the high-end rendered graphics over the network to the box and thus to your TV.
You can also link the NVIDIA Shield into the Steam library on your gaming PC, this means that you can stream those games directly to your big screen TV.
To use some of the features when streaming games from your PC to the Shield you will need a somewhat recent NVIDIA Graphics Card installed on your computer.
The Shield features USB and Ethernet ports so if you had videos on a USB key you can watch directly or you can network with your home network and watch videos that you have stored in a shared folder.
As the NVIDIA Shield is an Android box, you can add in a lot of apps here from the Google Play Store. These include things like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video along with Set-Top Box (STB) Emulators if you have an IPTV subscription.
You can also download games from the Google Play Store and play those if you like. Another advantage of running on the Android platform is that you can install.APK files that you find online.
You can find emulators online for many of the old gaming systems and computers on the Google Play Store, these can be installed on to the NVIDIA Shield easily.
Now, there could be a legal issue here as a lot of the games are still under copyright so we are not condoning you to go and download game ROMs.
As a way to get around this, companies like Nintendo, Sega, and others have released old games on their online platforms so you can use the games legally.
If, however, you do decide to install the emulators and ROMs on your Shield then you’d need to search around to find them, you will be able to play the old favorites from your couch again.
This is one that works along similar lines to the NVIDIA Shield, however it connects to your TV wirelessly via a ChromeCast (this may change in the future).
At the time of writing (January 2020) the Google Stadia has had extremely mixed reviews, I’ve not personally tested the device but I think it’s fair to say that if Google pursues the technology then each iteration will improve greatly. We will see what happens.
This device may pan out to be excellent but currently, I’d be apprehensive to recommend it, especially after reading so many mixed reviews about the device.
As I say I’ve not personally used it so I wouldn’t like pass judgment on it before doing so.
A little history of Steam
If you’ve never used the Steam system then you are missing out, it was one of, if not the first systems in place to allow digital downloading of games.
The origins of the system are pretty wild, however, its creation and ongoing success changed how people get their games in the past few years.
The creators of Steam, Valve games, experienced immense success with the release of their game Half-Life, it combined (at the time) cutting edge graphics, brilliant storyline, and puzzles.
Needless to say, the public was eagerly awaiting the release of the sequel, Half-Life 2, the developers ran into a few snags along the way…
Valve had their systems hacked, the hackers essentially stole about half of the coding for Half-Life 2. This had a massive impact on the company and of course, it derailed their efforts to complete and release the game.
As a response, Valve developed and unleashed the Steam system. When you bought the retail copy of Half-Life 2 and installed, you had to have an active internet connection to Steam to run the game.
From here, Valve began expanding Steam and had lots of other publishers jump on board to help protect their content.
Now, Steam is the host to a massive amount of games including a lot of indie games, some of which have gone on to great success. Steam also has semi-regular sales with many games having a large discount on sale price.
I gave a little back story to the Steam system to also help highlight an excellent system named Humble Bundle.
Humble Bundle offers various software and book bundles regularly, they also provide a monthly recurring payment option at a low price ($12) and you’ll get about $200 worth of games.
Humble Bundle donates a staggering amount of money to charity and will allow you to choose which charity you prefer to donate to. Since 2010 they have donated around $160,000,000 to charity!
You can sign up to monthly choice option here – Humble Bundle
The reason I’m mentioning Humble Bundle is that you will oftentimes get a code for the games which allows you to add to your Steam library.
This means you will have new games to play on your TV each month for a very low price, and on top of that, you’re donating to good causes so it’s a win-win scenario.
If you do have the desire to play PC games from your couch on the big screen, we’ve shown you some ways in which you can do this.
There are other options out there such as using a Raspberry Pi for old system emulation or even just a regular games console like X-Box or PlayStation, but to get the PC gaming experience we recommend going with the NVIDIA Shield.
It comes with a pretty nice controller but also has USB ports so you can hook up your favorite mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse if you want. You can use it to stream games from an online library of games or you can link it to your home gaming PC and stream the games from your Steam library directly to your living room big screen.
You can also use it as a Set-Top Box which you can use to watch Netflix or access your IPTV subscription on.
The NVIDIA Shield is an excellent all-round device, I’d highly recommend going with this option as the price is pretty reasonable considering all the features it comes with.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I play PC games on my living room TV?
Yes, we recommend using the NVIDIA Shield to achieve this.
Do I have to use a controller for living room PC gaming?
No, even though the NVIDIA Shield comes with a game controller, you can also connect up a USB keyboard and mouse.