In yet another new thing that Valve is trying out, the Steam Big Picture started beta yesterday. The Big Picture is, in the simplest terms, a program that allows for greater compatibility should a person using Steam want to use their TV as the monitor.
While it is true that you could always have the option (at least on most recent TVs) to run your computer on it, the Big Picture gives greater functionality as well as some interesting extras. First and foremost in my mind is the fact that you can choose to either use the traditional keyboard and mouse, or you can also run a controller. At this point Big Picture supports Xbox 360 controllers of both the wired and wireless variety.
There's also a reticle-based Internet browser included, which seems to promise a little better functionality for those that want to use a controller to surf the Internet as well. The main appeal would seem to be that you can easily access Steam on any medium of your choice.
With this development I'll admit that it does seem unlikely that something like the "Steam Box", which was a speculated console that would run the service, is actually going to ever come to fruition. I suppose that this could be a very early test run to see if people are keen on this kind of thing, but if they can manage the functionality without the need for a console of any kind then really there's no reason to invest in one, because people will appreciate the fact that it's one less thing to buy at the end of the day.
Given that it's merely the beta there's probably going to be more stuff to come, assuming that the interest is there. I guess that that's about it for today. Before I got I should mention that there might be somewhat sporadic updates over the next couple of days, due to me being out of town. At any rate though, I leave you with the short youtube video explaining Big Picture: