Steam's 'Big Picture' mode beta coming today, watch a video walkthrough now

Steam's "Big Picture" mode, a TV-friendly redesign of the client's interface, is now publicly available in a beta test period.

Steam's "Big Picture" mode, a TV-friendly redesign of the client's interface, will be available in beta today, and Valve released a video explaining the setup.

A New York Times story previously reported that the beta would be going live today, after a Valve spokesman announced in mid-August that it would hit in "early September."

Big Picture mode brings Steam into the living room, with a reformatted version of the client that is navigable with a video game controller as well as a keyboard and mouse. A unique non-QWERTY virtual keyboard, "Daisywheel," looks to make text entry faster and easier, and the TV client also includes a controller-friendly web browser "that doesn't suck." In addition, the entire Steam Store and Steam Community are available to Big Picture users.

Steam's Big Picture mode could lead the way for a Steam-enabled living-room device; Valve recently listed a job opening for an industrial designer who would be working on a box that would address "the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space."

Check out the Big Picture details from Valve here, including system requirements and a handy setup guide listing the variety of options available to users. Big Picture supports HDMI, DVI, and even VGA output from your computer to your TV.

Update: Steam's page explaining Big Picture is now live; we've edited the original post above to reflect that. According to the website, the beta launching today is for PC only, but a Mac version is "coming soon."

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