What Is Blu-ray Bonus View?
By Noel Shankel
Updated September 22, 2017
Blu-ray Bonus View is yet another way to experience your favorite films while at home. While previous Blu-ray machines did not feature this option, later models do, allowing you to gain extra knowledge about a specific film while the film is playing. The Bonus View option is not available for all Blu-ray titles, but titles that do offer it will expand your knowledge of the filmmaking process.
The Bonus View
The Blu-ray Bonus View option allows you to watch picture-in-picture commentary during the film. The commentary is provided from a variety of people involved with the making of the film, such as the actors, producers, writers or director. This feature is similar to watching a standard DVD with the audio commentary on -- except you can actually see the person giving the commentary. Once activated, a smaller screen will appear on your television. Within the smaller screen will be a video of the person giving the commentary. Just like standard audio commentary, you have the ability to switch Bonus View on or off based on your preference.
Older Blu-ray players -- also known as Profile 1.0 players -- do not contain the hardware requirements to activate the Bonus View option. The Blu-ray player Profile 1.1 -- also known as the Final Standard Profile model -- was the first version to offer the Bonus View option. The Profile 1.1 model features 256MB of memory, a secondary video decoder and a secondary audio decoder. All three elements are required to operate the Bonus View option. Without the secondary audio decoder, you would not be able to hear the commentary. You would not be able to see the commentator without the secondary video decoder.
If you opt to use the Bonus View feature while watching a Blu-ray film, you will have three options in regard to background sound. The first option is to hear only the commentary being spoken. The second option is to hear only the sound from the main window -- or the actual film. This would allow you to see the actor, director, etc, as she talks, but you wouldn't be able to hear what she's saying. The third option is to hear both the commentary and the film at the same time.
The main advantage to using the Bonus View option while watching a Blu-ray film is to gain added insight into the production of a movie scene. Generally, the commentary will follow along with the film so that at any given moment, the commentator is discussing the scene you are watching. You can activate this option for particular scenes, or for the entire film. However, not all Blu-ray discs have the Bonus View option. Always make sure to check the packaging of a disc to see if it contains the option before purchase.
Based in California, Noel Shankel has been writing and directing since 2002. His work has been published in "Law of Inertia Magazine." Shankel has a Bachelor of Arts in film and writing from San Francisco State University.