How to install Steam Link on Raspberry Pi

Play your favorite games on the TV!
Ash Ash (362)
15 minutes

You want to play games on the TV? What are you, some kind of console player?

Hey—I won't judge. Getting started is easy! With a Raspberry Pi and Steam account, you're well on your way to gaming just like they used to in the good ol' days.

What is Steam Link?

In 2015, Valve released a small computer (I'm being generous here) called Steam Link. It was designed to stream computer games to your television. The Steam Link box has since been discontinued, but Valve recently released new Steam Link software just for the Raspberry Pi. Valve's new software turns your Raspberry Pi into a contact point for streaming Steam's Big Picture UI, putting your full Steam library right on the TV!

Raspberry Pi 3 B+Raspberry Pi 3 B+ ×1

Howchoo is reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn a small affiliate commission at no cost to you when you buy through our links.

To get things started, we'll need an OS. I'll be using Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian). Be sure to visit our guide on how to update and install Raspberry Pi OS.

Connect your Raspberry Pi to the internet.

It's recommended that you use an ethernet cable (rather than WiFi) to reduce frame rate drop. Connect your Pi to your router using an Ethernet/CAT5 cable.

Install Steam Link

Installing the Steam Link software is rather straightforward. Access the Raspberry Pi via terminal or launch the terminal from the desktop. Run the following command to download the Steam Link package.

curl -#Of

Install the package with the following string.

sudo dpkg -i steamlink_1.0.7_armhf.deb
Launch Steam Link

To launch Steam Link, double click the icon from the desktop or run the following command from within a terminal.


Connect your preferred controller to one of the usb ports. Steam Link will prompt you about whether or not the controller is a Steam controller. In my experience, the non-steam controller recognized immediately and worked with no button mapping.

If you want your Raspberry Pi to function as a Steam Link box all the time, you can set Steam Link to launch on boot. Open the crontab file using this command:

crontab -e

And the bottom of the file, add this string:

@reboot nohup steamlink &

Save the changes and close the crontab file. Until that line is removed, Steam Link will launch every time the Pi is booted.

Play some games

Ready to play? I’m sure you are! Just select the computer you want to stream from and take as much time as you need on the testing phase. We want to really make sure these games can be played. So what’s another extra hour or two? We’re just being thorough here.

Troubleshooting Steam Link on the Raspberry Pi

As I always say, it’s not a Raspberry Pi project without a few hiccups. Here are some of the most common issues you’ll run into while setting up this project and how to fix them.

Unable to connect to PC

When the Raspberry Pi is failing to connect to your computer, it’s usually due to one of three things. The Pi is not connected to the network, the PC isn’t running steam, or the PC is waiting for you to enter the device authorization code. Ensure your Pi has a network connection and no prompts are open on the PC instance of Steam.

Internet connection failure

It’s hard to connect without a network! A LAN connection alone may not be enough to run Steam Link. Be sure your Raspberry Pi is connected to your network and able to reach external domains. Internet connection settings can be set within Raspberry Pi OS. Adjust the network configuration prior to launching Steam Link.

Controller not working

Setting up a controller should be nothing more than plug-and-play. However, it wouldn't be a troubleshooting section without failure. If the connected controller isn't working, verify the controller meets the following criteria:

  • The controller works on other devices

  • Other devices work when using the same USB port

  • The controller is selected in Steam Link

When all else fails, there's nothing more reliable than a good old fashioned reboot (just like Grandma used to call for help with). Plug in the controller and restart the Pi with the controller connected.

How to install (and use) RetroPie!
Zach Zach (248)
45 minutes

For around 50 bucks, you can build your very own vintage gaming rig that will hook up to any HDMI-enabled TV or monitor. This guide will show you everything you need to do to get playing.