Could SteamOS Solve Streaming DJ Latency Issues?

There’s always been a strong parallel between digital DJing and the video game industry – so we’ve been watching Valve Software’s recent announcements very carefully. If you’ve missed the news, in a nutshell, Valve has announced SteamOS, an operating system that makes it possible to stream video games across local wireless connections from a desktop computer to the fancy TV in your living room.

Streaming video and audio isn’t revolutionary – but in the case of games, you’ve also got to account for user input – which means Valve’s new OS has put latency squarely in its targets. The SteamOS annoucement page notes:

In SteamOS, we have achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we’re now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level.

What’s interesting for DJs is that this could mean that wireless audio streaming on a home network will suddenly be dramatically improved. Apple’s Airplay is the main technology used for local audio streaming to remote speakers, and it introduces a 2-3 second delay, making it extremely difficult for DJs to mix and cue against the remote speakers.

The SteamOS would need to account for nearly instantaneous user feedback on a game controller and reflect that in the video and audio, solving the latency problem entirely – something that many house party DJs can get excited about using in future gigs. Imagine being able to play in the basement and stream your set upstairs without introducing latency, or just walking into a living room with an incredible sound system and streaming to it without messing with the wiring.

More info about SteamOS on Valve’s official launch page. The OS is “coming soon”  and will be free of cost. 

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