Low resolution videos? A thing of the past in the latest Microsoft Edge

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 6, 2023
Microsoft Edge

Microsoft is testing a new feature in Microsoft Edge Canary currently that it calls Microsoft Super Video Resolution. The feature, which sounds an awful lot like NVIDIA's RTX Video Super Resolution, is designed to improve the quality of low quality videos in the Edge browser.

Both technologies serve similar purposes, but they appear to be individual products and not related. Microsoft notes that a third of all videos played in Microsoft Edge have a resolution of 480p or lower.

There are several reasons for this, according to Microsoft: from a low-resolution source over low network bandwidth to media providers serving low-resolution videos.

Low resolution videos serve a purpose, but they also introduce issues, such as blurry images, artifacts and text that is not legible.

Microsoft Video Super Resolution uses machine learning to improve video quality in Edge. Microsoft explains that it removes blocky compression artifacts and upscales videos to achieve this.

"We are excited to introduce an experimental video enhancement experience, powered by AI technology from Microsoft research called Video Super Resolution. It is a technology that uses machine learning to enhance the quality of any video watched in a browser. It accomplishes this by removing blocky compression artifacts and upscaling video resolution so you can enjoy crisp and clear videos on YouTube, and other streaming platforms that play video content without sacrificing bandwidth no matter the original video resolution."

One of the main advantages of the technology is that it is providing improved resolutions without affecting bandwidth.

Restrictions and requirements

Microsoft's implementation works on videos with a resolution of up to 720p. There is also a lower-end restriction, as the video needs to have a resolution of at least 193x193 pixels.

Mobile devices, e.g. a laptop, needs to be plugged in and videos will only be processed by Microsoft Edge if they are not DRM protected.

Last but not least, Microsoft Video Super Resolution requires an NVIDA GeForce RTX 20, RTX 30 or RTX 40 graphics card, or an AMD RX5700 to RX5800 graphics card.

If all of these apply, Microsoft Edge will process videos on any website to improve the quality. The browser displays an HD-icon in the address bar when it uses the technology to improve the video quality.#

Microsoft is working on hybrid GPU support at the time. The company recommends that Edge users force Windows to run the Edge process on the discrete GPU to take advantage of the feature.

How to enable Microsoft Video Super Resolution

Microsoft Video Super Resolution is currently only available in Microsoft Edge Canary, and there also only for select users. There is an option to force enable the feature, but it still requires a potent GPU to work at all.

Here is how to enable the feature, if it is not turned on already:

  1. Load edge://flags/#edge-video-super-resolution in the Microsoft Edge address bar.
  2. Set the value of the flag to Enabled, using the menu on its right.
  3. Restart Microsoft Edge.

The feature is enabled at this point and will be used automatically in Edge, provided that the graphics card is supported and several other parameters are met.

Closing words

Microsoft's solution is limited to its Edge browser, but it supports NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards. NVIDIA's solution works in most Chromium-based browsers, but it requires an NVIDIA graphics card.

Now You: what is your take on these super video technologies?

Article Name
Low resolution videos? A thing of the past in the latest Microsoft Edge
Microsoft is testing a new feature in Microsoft Edge Canary currently that it calls Microsoft Super Video Resolution.
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  1. basingstoke said on March 6, 2023 at 10:27 am

    from my experience upscalers usually aren’t the best thing in the world, they are good with geometrics and “shapes” but not so much with with organic, complex things. I can foresee a future where this is turned on by default and then boom, you’ve got a large number of people viewing all their content through some sort of “video processing filter”, which is not a good thing.

    I choose 480p almost always to save resources as it’s still decent enough for most things – ever since youtube forced 720p to be 60fps, 480p just makes the most sense unless you really need to see some small details.

    I wonder how this works – does it increase computational resource utilisation to render the upscaling? Does it make the browser “heavier”?

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