Early this March, Nvidia released a new feature for its RTX family to enhance video playback quality named Nvidia Virtual Super Resolution (VSR).
This feature aims to utilize the upscaling technology to give clearer image quality in a video that has a lower resolution than the native resolution.
The latest Gamers Nexus YouTube video shows that VSR gives interesting results depending on the source’s resolution.
What VSR do
Generally, VSR aims to provide better clarity to compressed videos as in most case scenarios, videos that got uploaded on a streaming platform such as YouTube or a stream broadcasted on a live stream platform like Discord, will always receive a compression to ease up the transfer bandwidth.
This compression tends to result in inferior image quality compared to the source when received on the user’s end; even with the highest quality settings.
To put it simply, Nvidia VSR attempts to close that gap by using its algorithm to detect noises and then attempts to “clean” the frames to bring the quality closer to the source. However, in the real-life scenario, it is a bit more complex than that.
Different source resolution, different result
The test shows that the efficiency of VSR relies on the resolution of the source video. The lower the resolution is the more noticeable the result shows; such as can be seen in this comparison between the 1080p source and 1440p source.
Based on the capture, we can see that VSR gives a more noticeable result in 1080p compared to 1440p. This is likely because, in 1440p, the source already has enough clear information that VSR struggles to find any other thing to improve whilst the 1080p itself receives a more aggressive touch-up as the algorithm thinks that the source has enough artifacts that need to be cleaned up.
However, that isn’t always the case as this other example shows.
The capture above shows that in the game Football Simulator, the VSR only attempts to clean the noise when the source image is in 480p whilst it gives a little bit of touch-up when using the 720p resolution as its source.
This is likely because the fact that this video shows relatively fast-paced content, it does not have enough information to gather the necessary details to be processed on a lesser resolution.
In a certain situation, however, the resolution doesn’t matter
On games that have a “true” fast-paced environment such as FPS or Shoot ‘em ups, it seems that any resolution does not make much difference.
This is due to the nature of the streaming platform’s bitrate compression as the faster the action goes on, the less information the end user receives regardless of their source resolution. This makes it impossible for VSR, at least at the current time, to attempt to fix them.
The Nvidia VSR did bring a promising result on its debut and while there might be a few unsatisfying results here and there such as hiccups in fast-paced videos, it still delivers fairly well.
It is hoped that in the future, as technology advances, it can tackle the existing issues. Just like how DLSS first started compared to today.
You can check the more detailed explanation on Gamers Nexus’s NVIDIA RTX Video Super Resolution Tested: Image Quality Comparison & Performance.