Steam Big Picture enters beta today

Valve launching free TV service this afternoon for Windows machines with controller compatibility; includes Web browser, new "Daisywheel" typing interface; Steam crosses 50 million users.

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Valve's Big Picture mode for its Steam service will enter beta this afternoon, allowing users to browse, purchase, and play all Steam games through TV sets they already own. The trial is free for Steam users on Windows, with a Mac version arriving at a later date.

To access Big Picture, players will need to connect their dedicated PC or Mac, laptop, or desktop computer to a high-definition television with an HDMI or VGA cable. Users will need Windows Vista or later to run Big Picture, as well as 1GB of RAM. For the full system specification requirements, check out the official page.

Steam users can play their games with either a keyboard and mouse or controller. Additionally, Big Picture adds a first-person Web browser, which Valve calls the first of its kind.

Further, Steam's Big Picture features a "Daisywheel" for typing messages and surfing the Internet with a controller. Valve says the traditional QWERTY setup works best for keyboards, with the new interface more finely tuned for use with a controller.

Lastly, Valve revealed that Steam has now crossed 50 million users, an increase of 10 million since January.

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