Want to puzzle out a wireless issue or tell me why I don't get it?
November 20, 2022 8:56 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to learn what the heck I gotta do to play Steam games on my television with a game controller - and have been out of the loop for a while. Details within.

I have:

Vizio 4k Ultra television using
TiVo Streak 4k
a home wireless network
desktop computer running Windows 10 and Steam in the back room
GameSir T3 Wireless Game Controller

I can easily start Steam on my desktop computer, and then access via the television using Steam Link as an app. But my TiVo remote is the only controller.

Put the wireless USB stick into the back of the television, tried to pair the controller - controller indicates paired. But television does not "recognize" controller, even when searched for with Bluetooth.

Okay, so....put wireless USB stick into USB on computer, can use controller to play games on computer screen while standing in front of computer.

Does the computer need to be in the same room as the television so that the USB is in the computer and the controller connects to the USB stick in the computer? What do I not understand and/or what am I missing to make this work? I know I sound a zillion years old, hope me. Thank you!
posted by tiny frying pan to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Okay, so....put wireless USB stick into USB on computer, can use remote to play games on computer screen while standing in front of computer.

That should say, "can use controller to play games"
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:59 AM on November 20, 2022

Best answer: I'll mention here that I know nothing about Steam Link but I do know some about remote cloud gaming with Stadia. If your TV has Bluetooth the controller can connect using that. It should just work, no extra dongle needed. That being said, these streaming setups are very idiosyncratic and the Xbox and PS4 controllers are the most common and most often used. It might be your TV/controller setup is not getting along, which I suspect is the situation since Vizio uses their own TV OS. It might not allow any controllers at all.

You probably need the Steam link app on your TV as well? When I was trying to use Stadia (RIP) on my Sony TV I needed the app if I wanted to play directly on the TV. Sony didn't support the Stadia app so I had to do a different thing but I thought I would mention it as my primary obstacle in playing directly from my TV.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:49 AM on November 20, 2022

Best answer: So it looks like your controller doesn't support bluetooth, and I don't think connecting the dongle to the TV will make the connection to the tivo stream device (which is where I think you're running steam link, as I don't think Vizio TVs run android apps as fiercekitten says).

You might be able to make it work by connecting a USB hub or usb c OTG adaptor to the tivo stream's usb c connector and plugging the dongle into that, or just grabbing a real bluetooth controller and pairing that (I use these 8Bit Do Pro2 controllers with an android tv box).
posted by samj at 9:59 AM on November 20, 2022

Best answer: If the Steam Link app is on your TiVo box, plugging the controller into the TV won't do anything for you. TVs don't pass data along like that. The controller needs to be plugged directly into the TiVo box itself. It looks like the Stream 4k has a USB-C connector (under Interface - betting the Micro USB is for powering the device itself), so maybe an adapter to convert to the probably USB-A your controller's receiver dongle has will work. You'd need a USB-C to female USB-A. Or, if you want to go straight cable connection, USB-C to whatever's on the controller itself.

Additionally, that controller doesn't have Bluetooth. It has its own dongle or direct cable connection and that's it. It's designed more for the Android TV boxes that are more Apple TV shaped, that have regular USB-A ports on them. (If you want to get a controller that definitely has Bluetooth, my go-to recommendation is a Microsoft Xbox controller - the current gen ones are Bluetooth or USB-C, readily available, work on PCs and Android, can take AAs or their own rechargeable batteries, and are good quality.)
posted by mrg at 10:00 AM on November 20, 2022

Response by poster: Thank you very much for responses so far.

I have the Steam Link app on the television. It looks like maybe I did buy the wrong controllers then, since they pair to their USB thing (showing the controllers are working) but the TV doesn't see them. It sounds like Xbox controllers would be "visible" to the television off the bat.

This is hopeful!
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:07 AM on November 20, 2022

I solve this buy buying a steam link box. It works really well. They don't do 4k but I don't usually mind. They are about $40 on eBay.
posted by bbqturtle at 12:15 PM on November 20, 2022

Response by poster: If anyone still sees this...

Thank you for your help!


I've ordered these but they have been on back order forever...is there a generic instead of these you'd recommend? Thanks!
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2022

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