Maybe the Steam Machine had it all wrong. Valve's vision of console-sized living room PCs running its SteamOS has not only run into delays, but also an alternative vision -- smaller, simpler, cheaper -- of bringing PC gaming to your house's main HDTV.
Razer presented this alternative at CES with its new Forge TV unit, a $100 box the size of an Apple TV that can handle all of the usual media streaming tasks along with being able to stream games from your main PC. At the moment, however, the Forge TV is unavailable, so if you can't wait to bring streaming gaming to your living room, NZXT has released its own $100 device that you can order today.
The Doko is similar to the Forge TV in its form factor and its mission to stream whatever you want from your base system, though it doesn't offer some of Razer's bells and whistles. Its biggest limitation is that it maxes out game streams at 30 frames per second (fps), whereas Razer's forthcoming Cortex: Stream service can handle 60fps. For some gamers, that's reason enough to pass on the Doko, but you'll need to pay $40 for Cortex if you purchase just the base Forge TV.
You can also get Cortex bundled with Razer's new optional Serval controller or Turret keyboard and mouse. In comparison NZXT appears to have no input accessories for the Doko, so you'll need to add your own controller, which you can easily do with one of its four USB ports. Those ports will also come in handy if you want to add Wi-Fi to the unit, which only offers wired (Ethernet) connectivity.
The Forge TV offers superior hardware inside, as well. It will ship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of built-in storage, whereas the Doko includes a single-core WonderMedia Prizm 8750 CPU, 256MB of RAM, and 8GB of capacity.
But the Doko's big advantage is you can order from NZXT's website right now. You'll have to wait for an unspecified time in the first quarter of 2015 for the release of the Forge TV or of Intel's Compute Stick, which offers more power in a thumb drive form factor and that could conceivably be used to stream games and other media from another PC.