This Deep Space Nine Fan used AI to remaster the 480p show to HD

Some TV shows will one day get a full HD remaster. Others with a smaller cult following just aren’t worth the effort it currently takes to improve the visuals, but what if the process were automated by AI?

That’s the experiment one Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fan – known as CaptRobau – has been working on, using AI Gigapixel’s neural network to upscale the show to 1080p. While the technology is designed for use on static images, CaptRobau found that the AI did a pretty incredible job upscaling moving video. Here are the two side by side so you can judge for yourself.

“The result left me pretty awestruck,” CaptRobau writes. “It looked better than I had hoped. No weird issues or anything. It looked pretty much like an HD version of DS9.”

To produce even this short clip was a bit of a mission, apparently taking some two days to process just five minutes of footage. Given there are 176 episodes of Deep Space Nine, that’s simply impossible for one man – not even considering copyright concerns. And forget about 4K: while CaptRobau had a crack at it, the results below “nearly melted” his computer.

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While CaptRobau is clear that he can’t release full episodes for legal reasons, his hope is that the proof of concept will find its way in to CBS’s hands, so that the company can consider it as a way of remastering the series officially without so much manpower.

“Imagine what a real team could do, with more powerful equipment, custom trained neural networks (perhaps training the network on TNG vs. TNG Remastered images) and access to the original SD files instead of a DVDRip like me,” he concludes.

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It might well be tempting. While the idea of doing a genuine remaster with the original recordings may seem unappealing given the cult status of the show, a semi-automated process could well prove a tempting way of reviving an old classic for a new generation.

What do you think of this fake HD remake? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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