There's no 7.1-channel audio outputs to ensure lossless sound, but the DMP-BD65 does handle the Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio Essential formats found on Blu-ray discs. No matter, though, because the DMP-BD65 produces a mix that's as powerful as it is subtle, with great 5.1 effects in our tests that are as accurate and subtle as you could wish for. There's plenty of bass and more than enough width for an impressive home cinema experience.
As with HD pictures, Panasonic proves once again that it does not mess around with sound, though the DMP-BD65's lack of analogue outputs will keep it from high-end home cinemas.
Panasonic has rarely produced effective remote controls, and the DMP-BD65 is once again saddled with a remote that features far too many (if well-sized and tactile) buttons, multi-function labels and a fussy design that sees various sets of buttons roped-off from the main suite of controls. It's potentially confusing.
One of the smaller buttons – drive select – gives access to either a USB stick or SD card. Panasonic's software dedicated to digital media is improving, though its basic blue/yellow/white interface now seems a tad old fashioned.
In practice only JPEG photos and AVCHD files can be read from the SD card, though both load and display very quickly. The USB slot only accepts JPEG, MP3 music and DivX files – and only some of the latter, at that. Nor could we get DivX HD files to play despite the DivX HD logo on the front of the deck itself.
For a hi-def deck that's an oversight, though some ability with MPEG and MP4 video wouldn't go amiss, either. Overall the DMP-BD65's handling of digital media is frustrating and nothing more than a sideshow, though at least digital video files that do display can be skipped though at five different rates.
Relying on a similarly speedy interface is Viera Cast, which remains potentially brilliant despite having a distinct lack of content. Loading times for video files are short, though it's best to watch YouTube in the default small window – going full screen isn't recommended if you have a TV over 26-inches in size.