VLC Media Player got RTX Video Super Resolution AI upscaling

Nvidia Video Super Resolution is now available for local playback of video files,too

In February, Nvidia released the RTX Video Super Resolution feature, which is video upscaling using the tensor cores of GeForce RTX 3000 and later GPUs. It’s basically an DLSS 1.0 equivalent (as it lacks motion vector based temporal filtering) for low-resolution web video. Initially, this RTX Video was only available in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, but now you can use it for local playback in the popular VLC Media Player.

This new development was announced alongside last weeks’s release of the GeForce RTX 4070. There is a short paragraph about it in Nvidia’s official blogpost, according to which you can now use this upscaling for local files on your computer played back in VLC. The algorithm used and its effect on the image will probably be the same as with the browser version (the quality seems to be controlled by the same settings in the Nvidia driver’s Control Panel).

Nvidia says in its blogpost that the version of the VLC player with RTX Video support is already available on the project’s website in the usual download section – there should be a special build labelled “VLC with RTX Video Super Resolution”. However, at the time of writing, only version 3.18, released in November, was there in both the Czech and English versions of the site. Its changelog doesn’t mention anything about RTX Video Super Resolution. It appears that the press department was confused, or Nvidia wass a bit ahead of the things, as the VideoLan project is yet to make an official release with this feature.

Apparently the feature is present in a testing branch of 3.19 version, more precisely only in a special build, which can be found here (the Nvidia website erroneously had a link to the stable 3.18 download page, but there wass no link to this special build). We don’t know if the RTX Video Super Resolution feature is planned to be included in the vanilla 3.19 release or the integration is slated for a later release. Currently, the technology seems to only be available on the Windows platform, Linux and other alternatives are out of luck for now.

If you want to try it out, you can install this test build, you likely don’t have to worry about the experimental nature of this build much. It shouldn’t be dangerous – serious system-breaking bugs don’t occur much in a media player like VLC, as it doesn’t touch system codecs and modules (like DirectShow, Media Foundation).

After installing, you can turn on Nvidia’s upscaling in VLC’s advanced settings. This is done in the Output Modules settings section, where you need to select Direct3D11 video output and then set the Video Upscaling Mode option to “Super Resolution”. On Nvidia graphics cards, this should hopefully be set by default (in this special build), but just to be sure, you can double check to see if the detection worked correctly for you.

Enabling RTX Video Super Resolution in VLC (source: VideoLAN)

This upscaling will probably make sense mainly for lower quality videos, where RTX Video can smooth out various flaws and artifacts in addition to sharpening and enhancing lines and edges. Generally though, post-processing of this type tends to be a double-edged sword, as that smoothing often also damages whatever remaining detail was left in the video. The resulting video can also take on a “plasticky” or “oil painting” look (which is less of a problem with game footage where Nvidia demonstrates the feature, but more of a problem with real life footage and movies). Even with low quality videos, it’s sometimes a dilemma as to whether enhancing with these filters is really an improvement.

If you’re looking for a solution more suitable for video with better details rather than an solution for low quality clips (or you don’t have an Nvidia graphics card…), MadVR upscaling, also GPU accelerated, could be an alternative. It’s has been around for long time now, but has been very carefully tested and tuned specifically with fidelity and quality in mind. This upscaling video renderer can be used in MPC-HC or MPC-BE players, and others that use the DirectShow infrastructure in Windows.

Source: Nvidia (1, 2), VideoLAN (1, 2)

English translation and edit by Jozef Dudáš

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