What is the benefit of streaming your games from your PC to your TV? Until not long ago, this was a useless idea for me. Just connect your PC to the tv and problem solved, right? In many cases, it turns out, it is just not feasible. Right now my PC is in my office upstairs. I have a big TV, quality surround setup, and no gaming console in my living room. I’m not much of a player nowadays, but there are times when I want to fire up a game and play with my friends or family. Streaming is actually the only reasonable solution in this setup. It is very convenient too – just launch it on your Android TV like any other game. PC will boot up and start streaming the game, with so little lag most of you won’t notice the difference. GameStream makes this a piece of cake.
What are the requirements? For the best quality experience, you will need a PC with NVIDIA card in it (GeForce GTX 600+ series GPU) and GeForce Experience installed. There are some AMD alternatives, though they do not generally provide such a smooth experience. At the other end, NVIDIA Shield TV is the best, but other Android devices with Moonlight Game Streaming app should work as well. I recommend using wired connection for best quality, but WiFi with a good router should work as well.
The whole setup is quick and simple – install GeForce Experience software on your PC from NVIDIA website. Then log in and enable GameStream and you are done. Now set up GameStream in NVIDIA Games app on your STV and games are ready to be streamed. For the best possible experience, two more steps are needed.
Wake On Lan (WOL for short) is the tricky part, as it is different for every motherboard / LAN card / system combo. This is necessary to automatically turn on the PC whenever you start streaming game from your Android TV. It is difficult to cover every PC configuration out there, but here are a few things to check for:
- Check your BIOS for Wake On LAN in power settings. If you can’t find it, just google WOL for your motherboard.
- Make sure your system supports WOL – for example, Windows 10 disables this functionality when “Fast Startup” in “Power Options -> Choose what the power buttons do” is enabled (you can disable it after clicking “Change settings that are currently unavailable”).
- Check your Network card power management properties (Network -> right click on used network adapter -> Configure -> Power Management -> Check “Allow this device to wake the computer” and “Only allow magic packet to wake the computer”. There might also be an option to “Wake on magic packet” in Advanced settings.
If configured properly, after shutting down the computer, the lights of your ethernet port should blink. Hopefully, everything should be working now. For me, things started working only after I installed NIC drivers from original manufacturers website. If your computer wakes immediately after going to sleep, you can find out the recent wake cause with the command:
One last thing left: PC auto login. Without it, PC will stop the game from launching until you log in. This part is quite easy to set up:
- Run netplwiz
- Select user for auto login session and uncheck “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer”
- Click “Apply” and confirm your password
That’s it. Right now you should be able to select a game in NVIDIA games, and after pressing Play, PC should turn on and start streaming your game. Keep in mind, the game you running must have the same resolution as your TV, otherwise, black bars will be visible. This might be problematic if your desktop is at a different resolution. To stop in-game resolution from reverting back to same as desktop, disable “OPTIMIZE GAMES” in “NVIDIA Games / GameStream PC’s” settings.
Hopefully, this process will become simpler with time. There are a few quirks preventing game streaming from being as easy as it should be. The whole Wake On LAN setup should become unified and one-button-automagic. There should also be an option to force the desktop resolution to be the same as on TV. This is still a relatively fresh concept, and all of the problems might eventually get ironed out.
What is your take on streaming games? What other issues have you encountered while setting this up? Leave a comment.