SteamOS is based on Linux and is coming to your living room for free

Valve is making a huge push for living room dominance with the Washington-based company announcing SteamOS, a free stand-alone operating system for “living room machines.”

SteamOS “combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen,” according to the announcement website. It’s hardly surprising considering that Valve CEO Gabe Newell was singing the praises of Linux at LinuxCon last week.

SteamOS will make use of Steam Big Picture mode, along with a number of nifty features we haven’t seen yet. Users will be able to stream their games directly from their Windows or OS X PCs to their living room machine, meaning you can play any game, any time, on your big screen. Valve are also working with music and movie content delivery services for their OS, which will essentially make SteamOS your one-stop entertainment hub.

Valve are also emphasising that SteamOS will be an open experience, much in the same vein as Linux. Users will be able to changer or replace any part of the software or hardware as they see fit. This also means that hardware manufacturers are free to “iterate in the living room at a much faster pace,” so we can expect a number of Steam Boxes popping up from everyone in the near future.

SteamOS is free and will always be free. Valve claims to have seen “significant performance increases in graphics processing,” and is “now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level.

A huge announcement that is changing the way we think about PC gaming. Valve have another announcement arriving in 48 hours, and another arriving sometime soon after that. If this is their first piece of news, we can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeves.