We reported last month that Valve was preparing itself for an immanent release of it's Big Picture mode and Linux client betas and, whilst we still have no further details to offer-up with regards to any penguin oriented releases, thanks to the New York Times, we have a date placed on Steam's Big Picture mode, which, is to be released later today, apparently.
"On Monday, the company will begin a public test of a new television-friendly interface, Big Picture, for buying Steam games and playing them on computers in the living room." stated the article. To elaborate further, Big Picture mode is essentially filling the gap that needs to be bridged by Steam in-order to realise Valve's plans of a complete eco-system.
Big Picture mode would allow Steam to be ran as a modal application, where there's no need to show a desktop behind it. Support for TV-sized displays and controllers allows the platform to be wrapped-up into a console, a complete and potentially self-contained eco-system. This is all part of Valve's 'STEAMWORKS' business plan, which the firm revealed back in 2011.
As the beta is released, gamers will essentially be offered the chance to approve of the new system and, provide feedback on its workings. There may not be a huge market for the new mode right now, it's clear that Valve is targeting OEMs, however, there are certainly a fair few gamers out there who enjoy playing on a TV, even with a PC attached instead of a console.