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  • Writer's pictureXBPlay

XBPlay: Clarity Boost

Updated: Jan 7

To enable clarity boost, open the options side menu and click the Clarity Boost item.




Overview


There are two types of clarity boost options available: Upscalers and Sharpeners. As of this writing, there are 2 upscalers and 3 sharpeners available. Try them out and enable the one that looks best to you. You can use the sliders to adjust the strength of the clarity boost. Please note that only one sharpener or upscaler can be used at a time.


Selecting a clarity boost algorithm
Selecting a clarity boost algorithm

Enable side-by-side comparison to see the impact of the clarity boost feature. The left side is the enhanced video and the right is the original.





Choosing the Best Settings


The "optimal" clarity boost technique relies on factors such as your device's performance, power consumption, display capabilities, and personal preference. There's no definitive right or wrong choice here; select what feels best to you. You might find that a clarity boost algorithm that looks great in one game doesn't have the same effect in another, so adjusting the strength or trying different options might be necessary. It's essential to consider the following:

  • Upscalers are best suited for high-definition screens but consume more resources compared to sharpeners.

  • Applying any clarity boost setting may negatively impact FPS and introduce delay. If you notice frame skips or lag, your device might not have the power needed for clarity boost.


Clarity Boost Algorithms


The best way to pick a clarity boost algorithm is to try them out and see which one looks the best on your device. However, I will give some high-level pros/cons of each algorithm here:


Sharpener: High Pass Filter (HPF)

  • It is the most resource efficient, so it will use the least battery and keep your device cooler than the others.

  • It has the most obvious impact. Turn it on and you will definitely notice a difference.

  • It produces the most noise. You can see this by turning the strength slider all the way to the max. It will likely over-sharpen. When using the HPF on my device, I like to keep it between 0.3 - 0.6 strength.


Clarity boost high pass filter
Left = HPF Sharpener | Right = Normal


Sharpener: Unsharpen Mast (USM)

  • Similar to the HPF but is much more customizable. You can adjust three values that will impact the image look instead of one.

  • Increasing the radius value will negatively impact performance, making it less efficient than the HPF for configurations.


USM clarity boost sharpener in XBPlay
Left = USM | Right = Normal


Sharpener: Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS)

  • CAS is my personal favorite sharpener. It sharpens the low-contrast portions of the image without sharpening the portions that are already sharp. This produces a sharpened image without adding as much noise as the HPF and USM.

  • It uses slightly more resources than the HPF, but still less than the upscalers.

  • For most devices, this will likely be the best improvement to performance choice.


XBPlay app using CAS clarity boost sharpener
Left = CAS | Right = Normal


Upscaler: FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR)

  • Is superior to any sharpener on a 2k+ screen due to its first upscale pass.

  • Produces a balanced and sharpened image adding the least noise out of possibly all the others.

  • Is less noticeable due to its focus on keeping noise low.

  • Likely uses the most resources out of all the algorithms.


XBPlay clarity boost FSR algorithm
Left = FSR | Right = Normal


Upscaler: Fast Super Sampling (FSS)

  • This is very similar to the CAS sharpener. In fact, its second pass runs the CAS sharpening algorithm. (The key difference is that it incorporates a first pass that upscales the pixels using a lacronze-2 kernel).

  • Uses fewer resources than FSR.


XBPlay FSS clarity boost upscaling algorithm
Left = FSS | Right = Normal

Known bugs:

  • Android: Enabling and disabling the clarity boost feature while using the "GeckoView" render engine may produce a black screen. Restarting the remote play session will solve the issue and it will startup with clarity boost enabled.

  • iOS: Enabling clarity boost while in picture-in-picture mode doesn't work right.

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