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Earlier this week Valve made the first of three big announcements being teased on its website with the introduction of SteamOS: a Linux-based, open and freely licensable operating system that will run any number of devices and deliver the Steam experience in the living room. Today the company announced the second part of the puzzle with the launch of a hardware beta program for “Steam Machines” that will run the operating system:

Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS.

Valve has designed a “high-performance prototype” and it will ship 300 of the boxes to Steam users for free in order to test the platform:

While these products are still in development, we need your help. As always, we believe the best way to ensure that the right products are getting made is to let people try them out and then make changes as we go. We have designed a high-performance prototype that’s optimized for gaming, for the living room, and for Steam. Of course, it’s also completely upgradable and open.

The company is accepting sign-ups for the beta program until October 25. Here’s how to apply: expand full story