Valve boss Gabe Newell has predicted that PC-to-TV streaming will become standard on future TV sets, and will offer the cheapest high-quality pathway to PC gaming in the living room.
Speaking during his D.I.C.E presentation today, entitled 'A View on Next Steps', Newell predicted that the penetration of PCs into the living room is likely to come in a three-tier segmentation of "good, better, best" scenarios.
The 'good' segment will be in-home streaming, where users have one traditional PC that's capable of streaming images to any TV in the house with super-low latency. "The good news is that's going to start at about $100 and eventually go down to zero," he said.
"This will just become a standard feature of every television, the latency is basically nonexistent, so we really believe it's a very low-cost pathway [to PC games in the living room] and a very high-quality path."
Newell described the 'better' scenario as a "PC in the console form factor and at the console price point" - which sounds most like the Steam Box developments that have unfolded in the past year. Newell notes that there's nothing "magical" about PC hardware, making an affordable living room-based gaming box a viable prospect.
Newell's 'best' scenario is essentially a traditional PC purchased just for living room use. "PCs have always scaled really well - if a customer wants more 3D performance they can get it. If they want more storage for video the can get it. So the sky is the limit - if you want a $4000 living room box I'm sure there are lots of PC vendors who are going to send that to you," he said.
"If we solve the other problems in terms of making it a great user experience there's certainly going to be a lot of hardware out there to satisfy any consumer's high-end desires."
You can watch the entire presentation below: