for the uninitiated.
I got a chance to play around with it last night now that it is in open beta and I was pretty darn impressed. One of the best things about the beta is that it allows your Steam account to be logged into on multiple systems at the same time. It was also super user friendly and worked perfectly without any fussing around (and no crashing). I only tested the encoding side with my main PC/GTX 780 as the server but it is supposed to be platform agnostic as long as your GPU can hardware encode H.264.
It appears the current version only supports hardware encoding on Quicksync capable Intel CPUs and software encoding on everything else (quad core or better strongly recommended, in any cause your primary GPU is still doing the rendering, just not the video encoding).
I tested decoding (DayZ and Civ5) on my W110ER over a ~650Mbps 802.11ac wireless connection (1366x768) and it was very impressive. That system has a GTX 650 in it but I'm assuming the HD 4000 IGP handled the decoding which is great for the battery obviously - I could certainly see how even on that very capable machine I could play games at even higher image quality levels if I wanted to - of course the biggest problem was input lag which was noticeable but depending on the game not so bad (a huge surprise).
I also streamed to my HTPC which has a A10-5700 in it, that was at 1080p over gigabit ethernet and I ran around in Goat Simulator for about 10 minutes occasionally forgetting that I was steaming instead of playing locally. Very fast twitchy movement did lead to some compression artifacting but I had to move the camera super fast/very intentionally to make it happen.
All of this was done with the default settings, I didn't test the "fast" or "beautiful" options and I didn't watch any performance data or check out how much bandwidth was being used. I also didn't test any Java/OpenGL titles, not sure if those are supposed to work yet. I'll do more fiddling with it this week and over the weekend and report back. I have a crusty Acer W500 that I'm itching to try out the touch screen mode of Civ5 on, if the built in wifi can't handle it maybe with a USB adapter...
As I said at the beginning I'm really impressed by this initial effort, it really feels like the future. I could totally see myself sticking a GTX 750 Ti into my home server and using this to stream games to an 8" Bay Trail tablet or it could be used so my wife can play fancier games than her dual core Ivy/IGP only laptop should allow her to since the 6950 in her desktop would be doing all the heavy lifting. Of course in that case she would need to break her current FTL addiction first.
More to follow...Edit: Forgot to mention that by default it will render the game at the resolution of the host machine and scale down the video stream to fit the resolution of the client. Of course you can change the resolution from in game like normal while streaming but I can see where sometime I might rather play Civ5 at 1080p on my laptop instead of 1366x768 - it might be a little fuzzy but the interface won't take up as much space.