Microsoft Edge’s Video Super Resolution feature uses AI to enhance low-quality videos
Microsoft has recently announced an experimental video upscaling feature for its Edge web browser called Video Super Resolution (VSR). The feature uses machine learning to increase the resolution of low-quality videos and improve text clarity, making it ideal for platforms like YouTube. However, VSR is still in testing, and it is currently available only to half of the users running the Canary channel of Edge in Microsoft’s Insider program.
To try out VSR, there are a few requirements that users must meet. First, the video resolution must be 720p or lower, and the video cannot be protected by digital rights management (DRM) technology like PlayReady or Widevine. This limitation may affect the availability of content that users can upscale with the feature, as most popular streaming platforms rely on DRM for copyright protection.
Second, the device running VSR must have either an Nvidia RTX 20-, 30-, or 40-series graphics card or an AMD Radeon series GPU from the RX5700 through to the RX7800. This support also extends to gaming laptops with discrete versions of these GPUs. However, the device must be plugged into a power source, and users must adjust their Windows settings to force Edge to run on the laptop’s discrete GPU manually.
It is worth noting that VSR is not the first video upscaling feature to arrive for Edge users. Microsoft introduced Clarity Boost spatial upscaling for Xbox Cloud Gaming in June 2021, which makes Xbox games streamed on the Edge browser appear clearer and sharper.
VSR technology is not unique to Microsoft, as other companies like Intel and Nvidia are developing their own video upscaling solutions. Nvidia has offered an early version of RTX Super Resolution (RTX VSR) on Shield TV devices since 2019, and the technology has since rolled out to Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers. It is also interesting to note that RTX Super Resolution may cause a slight reduction in performance if used while playing games or running GPU-reliant creative apps, although Microsoft has not mentioned any such performance impacts for VSR.
In conclusion, Microsoft’s Video Super Resolution feature can potentially enhance video quality for Edge users. However, the technology still has limitations, such as the resolution and DRM requirements and the need for specific hardware to support the feature. As with any new technology, it will be interesting to see how VSR evolves over time and how users will adopt it.