Razer streams PC games to your TV with Android-powered Forge TV
Forget the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One — wouldn’t you rather play your PC games in your living room? Razer’s new Android-powered Forge TV allows you to do just that, thanks to a new technology called Cortex: Stream, which beams games from your PC to your television.
Forge TV looks just like an Apple TV — it’s a tiny little set-top box that doesn’t look too exciting at first glance. Open it up, however, and you’ll find a micro-console capable of “gaming-grade graphics” that will allow you to play PC games as well as those written for Android on any TV with an HDMI connection.
The device is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, with Adreno 420 graphics and 2GB of RAM. It has 16GB of storage, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11ac connectivity, as well as HDMI, Ethernet, and USB 3.0 ports.
Forge TV runs Google’s new Android TV platform, which means you can also use it to watch content from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and a whole bunch of other services. You can also send music and videos to it from your smartphone and tablet (it’s Cast-compatible), and use apps like Plex. This isn’t the reason why you buy a Forge TV, though.
The device’s biggest selling point is Razer’s Cortex: Stream technology, which works a lot like Steam In-Home streaming; you install the accompanying software on your PC, which allows Forge TV to access your game library and use your computer’s hardware. Your PC is still doing all the work, then, but Forge TV is streaming the visuals to your TV.
Cortex: Stream works even when your TV and your PC are in different rooms — so long as they’re connected to the same network — and it automatically adjusts your resolution to suit your connection, so you’ll always get good performance. Of course, you’ll also need something with which to control your games — and Razer has that covered, too.
There are two options: One is the new Serval wireless controller, which is a lot like an Xbox One gamepad. Up to four of them can be connected to a Forge TV at any time — allowing for local multiplayer gaming. You can also pair Serval itself to four different devices — your PC, your Forge TV, and your tablet — and quickly switch between them as and when you want to.
The other option, which will no doubt better suit PC gamers, is Turret, a wireless “lapboard.” It’s essentially a keyboard with a connected mousepad that lets you use the included gaming mouse with 3500 DPI sensor on your lap while you kick back on the couch.
Forge TV is tentatively scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. this quarter, but we won’t see Cortex: Stream until the second quarter of this year — and it will initially come out in beta. Forge TV will cost $79 on its own or $149 with an included Serval controller, while the Turrent lapboard is priced at $129.