Some Microsoft Edge Canary users will finally have access to the feature announced in January at CES 2023.
According to Neovin, this feature is called Video Super Resolution (VSR) and is a scaler that uses Microsoft Research’s AI technology to improve video quality in your browser. Starting today, 50% of Microsoft Edge Canary users will have a chance to test VSR. This feature works by removing block compression artifacts and upscaling the overall resolution for various streaming platforms.
This should be an extremely useful feature, as according to Microsoft’s own figures, “one in three videos in Edge plays at 480p or lower.” This will help users with low network bandwidth or poor video quality.
However, this comes with caveats. For example, VSR requires a discrete graphics card from Nvidia (RTX 20 series and above) or AMD (RX 5700 and above). Microsoft has stated that it will drop the update in the near future to allow automatic switching between iGPU and dGPU. You also cannot use this feature on DRM-protected movies or when the laptop is disconnected.
Artificial intelligence scaling could be the future
It seems AI scaling may be the future of general video scaling as it is very similar to what Nvidia is also pushing. This one is called RTX Video Super Resolution, which according to a statement provided to Computer player, would allow for “resolutions above 1080p. It will scale video to native resolution anywhere between 360p and 1440p and will work with video up to 144Hz frame rates.”
It works in both Chrome and Edge browsers, which means Chrome users are not left out in the cold. However, this feature would require an RTX 3000 or 4000 series GPU, but you can have videos upscaled to 4K resolution instead.
It will be interesting to see if other browsers such as Safari, Opera or Mozilla adopt their own upscaling technology, and also AMD will develop independent technology to compete with Nvidia.