After Nvidia and soon Intel, it’s Microsoft’s turn to announce its own technology to improve the quality of web videos in its Edge browser. A more accessible technology than its competitors, but less versatile.
This is the third such technology in less than a month. On Saturday March 4, Microsoft announced the release of a new tool for a test version of its Edge web browser: Video Super Resolution (or VSR). This feature is supposed to use artificial intelligence to improve the quality of web videos in real time. Identical technology to the one launched by Nvidia at the end of February. This VSR addresses a recurring issue, according to the Microsoft website:One in three videos play at 480p or lower in Microsoft Edge today».
An option with very strict conditions
Specifically, the Super Video Resolution of the Edge browser should increase the definition of the video played, even if it is only available in 360p on YouTube, for example. The algorithm will notably improve the visibility of the texts while removing artifacts caused by the compression imposed by the platforms on which they are put online.
A DLSS-like artificial intelligence technology available in video games, which uses the computing capabilities of recent graphics cards to “guess» missing pixels. In order to use Edge’s VSR, you’ll need to be equipped with a recent GPU: either an Nvidia RTX 20, 30, or 40 series, or an AMD RX 5700-7800 series. The computer must also be plugged in to access it.
Microsoft Edge video super resolution
NVIDIA (RTX 20 series and newer)
AMD (RX5700 and later) pic.twitter.com/L75g7QQ44s
—HXL (@9550pro) March 4, 2023
Other conditions: Video resolution must be less than 720p, but greater than 192 pixels in height or width. Also, this will only be possible on videos that are not subject to DRM and therefore cannot be applied to Netflix or Disney+, for example.
Competitor VSRs have their limitations too
Many restrictions that are absent in other super-resolution video technologies available today. Nvidia kicked off the web video resolution-boosting AI ball this year with its RVSR, released in late February, which works on both YouTube and Netflix. On the other hand, the conditions to access it are more limited: use an Nvidia RTX 30 or 40 series GPU and a Chromium-based browser (such as Chrome or Edge) on version 110 or higher.
Intel has also been offering a similar tool for a few days, albeit unofficial. In addition to being accessible for graphics cards in its ARC range, this VSR is also available with GPUs integrated into its processors, starting from the 10th generation (Comet Lake, released in 2019). A testable technology in Chrome 109.
Finally, the Opera browser also offers VSR with its Lucid mode from the end of 2022, without requiring a precise graphics card.
Still experimental technology
Therefore, the use of the Video Super Resolution algorithm is restricted to a small group of Internet users. At the moment, Edge’s VSR is only accessible to 50% of users of the Canary version of the browser.
A sign that this technology is still in its infancy. Our recent Nvidia RVSR test illustrated this, as the algorithm failed to significantly improve video quality over time, while accentuating compression artifacts.
In the meantime, you can test Edge VSR by manually enabling the option via the experimental flags options page (edge://flags/#edge-video-super-resolution). Once activated, click on the icon “High Definitionaddress bar appeared to enable or disable video enhancement.
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