Technology

Nvidia’s AI upscaling now works on web videos

Something to look forward to: The AI upscaling functionality in Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards is typically used to improve gaming image quality and performance. However, the company plans to bring AI-assisted upscaling to web videos next month for users with Ampere and Ada Lovelace graphics cards.

Nvidia announced that starting in February, PCs with RTX 40 series or 30 series GPUs will upscale 1080p videos to 4K in the Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers. It’s unclear why it won’t work on RTX 20 series GPUs, which have DLSS functionality similar to the 30 series.

The company also didn’t explain why these limitations are in place, but the system is presumably in its early stages and could improve over time. Hopefully, Nvidia doesn’t take long to bring the feature to Firefox.

As part of its “Nvidia Studio” announcements at CES 2023, Nvidia unveiled a short video demonstrating RTX Video Super Resolution. The clip compares 1080p Apex Legends gameplay with the footage upscaled to 4K. A zoomed-in shot shows that the upscale effect smoothens blocky artifacts on near and far objects.

The demonstration doesn’t show much movement, and the motion is slow, so it’s unclear how Video Super Resolution will handle fast-moving footage or shot transitions. Nvidia also only presented an upscale from 1080p to 4K.

The company’s well-known DLSS feature upscales games from and to a broader range of resolutions through its quality, performance, and ultra-performance modes. Focusing first on upscaling from 1080p makes sense, as it’s likely the most common web video resolution. Hopefully, Nvidia will eventually try to add upscaling from 720p. The results might not look as good, but there’s enough 720p content on the web to warrant testing.

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The Apex Legends demo implies that Nvidia primarily expects viewers to use Video Super Resolution to watch 1080p gaming streams in 4K. However, the company said the feature works on any video. The clip shows a YouTube browser window, but Video Super Resolution could also work on other sites.

Every prominent streaming service except Netflix and YouTube restricts PC users to 1080p, so Nvidia’s new feature could be a solid workaround if it functions on sites like Amazon Prime Video or Hulu. The company didn’t indicate whether users could someday apply Video Super Resolution to videos stored on their computers.

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