Valve just followed up its SteamOS announcement from earlier this week by unveiling what it calls "Steam Machines," a new category of living room hardware designed to get you playing PC games on the big screen. There will be different hardware to choose based on your needs and budget, details of which will be unveiled at a later time. In the meantime, Valve has designed a high-performance prototype and plans to ship 300 of them to beta testers, free of charge.
To have a shot at getting one, you must log into Steam before October 25, 2013 and complete a series of tasks, starting with visiting your quest page to track your current status towards beta test eligibility. After that, you must join the Steam University community group, agree to the Steam Hardware Beta Terms and Conditions, make 10 Steam friends (if you haven't already), create a public Steam Community profile (again, only if you haven't already done so), and play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode.
You'll earn a badge once you've completed the above steps and be put in a pool from which Valve will select 300 lucky winners.
For everyone else, you'll be able to buy a Steam Machine built around SteamOS sometime in 2014. These will be made by different manufacturers, just as previously rumored. That doesn't mean Valve is dumping its current model or hanging Windows users out to dry, so don't worry if you're not into this whole movement.