We tested Nvidia Video Super Resolution, improving videos from YouTube, Netflix and Twitch

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Nvidia has released RTX Video Super Resolution, a technology that uses artificial intelligence to improve the quality of videos viewed on the web. A promise that does not revolutionize the world.

Pam in The Office saying “it’s the same picture”

In early February, Nvidia announced RTX Video Super Resolution, or VSR for short, a technology offered with its latest graphics cards to improve the quality of video viewed from the Web under certain conditions. We had a chance to test this feature ahead of time to judge its effectiveness.

What is video super resolution?

First, let’s explain what RTX Video Super Resolution is. This is a technology that uses the Tensor cores of an RTX 40 or RTX 30 GPU —RTX 20 will also be supported in the future— to increase the quality of videos viewed from the web on platforms such as YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ or Contraction for example. Like DLSS in games, this artificial intelligence wants to improve image definition in real time and remove compression artifacts.

To take advantage of it, you first need to check a few boxes:

  • Have an Nvidia RTX 30xx or RTX 40xx graphics card.
  • Update your drivers to version 531.14 minimum.
  • Use a Chromium supported browser such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
  • That the latter is up to date (Chrome 110.0.5481.105 or Edge 110.0.1587.56 minimum).

Note that the Opera browser offers a similar feature since late 2022 with its Lucid mode. This has the advantage of not requiring a specific graphics card.

How to enable video super resolution?

Once your graphics drivers are up to date, you can enable VSR in the Nvidia Control Panel (accessible by right-clicking on the desktop, then ” show more optionsin Windows 11). The option is in the “Adjust video image settings“under the name”RTX Video Enhancement».

Four quality levels for the VSR

Once the box”super resolution» checked, you will have the choice, via a drop-down menu, of four quality levels. The higher the level, the more complex the algorithm used, allowing, according to Nvidia, better quality at the cost of more GPU usage.

Our opinion on Super Resolution Video

We had the opportunity to test the RTX Video Super Resolution on Netflix, YouTube and Twitch to form an opinion on this new technology. The least we can say is that she didn’t really win us over.

About recent and already quality content, such as the movie trailer.Dune, the improvement brought by Nvidia’s algorithms is not obvious. With the naked eye, it is completely impossible to tell if the option is activated or not. You need to take the time to compare image by image to spot sharper text here and finer skin texture there.

Dune Towing, Active VSR
Dune Towing, VSR Idle

The comparison above is the best example we found during our tests. There is a noticeable improvement in skin texture…in an image that lasts less than two seconds on the screen in this specific case. In most of the other images we compared, it was very difficult to find any improvement.

At a high quality level, the result gives the impression of a very artificial sharpening by a very basic algorithm. If this increases the qualities of an image, sometimes the flaws are highlighted as well.

VSR inactive
active RSV

Here, we notice that the VSR blurs the flying strands of hair on the left side of the image and accentuates the compression artifacts linked to the sample rate in the sky on the right side.

In older videos, like “me in the zoo(the first video uploaded to YouTube) or “star wars kid(an iconic video captured in 2006), which are obviously full of artifacts of all kinds, same observation.

RTX VSR active on the left, inactive on the right (or vice versa, I have a question…) // Source: Frandroid

As you will have understood, Nvidia’s RTX Super Video Resolution is not the revolution that DLSS or Nvidia Broadcast could have been at the time, but perhaps version 2.0 will one day correct the situation.

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