Microsoft Edge is adding a new feature known as Video Super Resolution (VSR), which the company says is a video upscaling tool for the browser. Currently an “experimental” addition, VSR taps into machine learning technology to boost the resolution of low-quality video.
According to Microsoft on the Edge Insiders blog, the VSR technology will improve the visual clarity of video and “remove block compression artifacts” on videos. It works in Microsoft Edge for most web video services, including YouTube.
VSR is currently available through the Edge Canary channel, but is limited to half the users. Microsoft did not say how it chose which users to provide access to, but it seems to be random.
As this is an experimental feature, there are some caveats to Microsoft VSR worth knowing about. Firstly, it will only upscale videos that have a resolution of 720p or lower. That means there is no upscaling from HD to Full HD or from Full HD to 4K.
The video must exceed 192 pixels in both height and width, while it cannot have any digital rights management (DRM) restrictions on it. That's because DRM services such as PlayReady put frames onto video that cannot be accessed in Edge. Of course, major streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ will have DRM on them, so you cannot upscale content from those sites.
Microsoft also says there are hardware requirements to use VSR. Specifically, the device must have either an AMD Radeon Series GPU RX5700 through to the RX7800 or an Nvidia RTX 20/30/40 series GPU. Furthermore, the PC must also be plugged into a power source and Windows must be set to force Edge to run on the GPU.
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