Panasonic dbp-bd65 remote

In a competitive market, the DMP-BD65 just manages to hold its own. With hi-def pictures and sound presenting no problem for this Panasonic, it would be hard to argue that it's over-priced, yet a few foibles with its digital media capabilities and its lack of DLNA networking knock the shine off this otherwise accomplished player.

We also liked the DMP-BD65's design – it's such a tiny player it could easily slot into an existing set-up – though gone are the days when Blu-ray players constituted a premium slice of tech; the DMP-BD65 is no better built than a mass-market DVD player.

Digital media and Viera Cast prove mere distractions, but its core duties are competently performed.

We liked:

Pictures, sound and speed. Incredibly fast to load, the DMP-BD65 gets the best out of Blu-rays without any fuss.

Pictures contain crystal clear detail within images that are clean and realistically coloured, with plenty of contrast and a stability that carries it through fast-motion scenes without too many incidences of blur.

Meanwhile, audio is delicately rendered and creates a wide and involving soundstage – it's as impressive as on some Blu-ray players twice the price.

We disliked:

The Blu-ray format might be holding up relatively well, but we're convinced that the ability to stream movies – even in standard definition – would see sales of players like the DMP-BD65 rocket.

Less important than Viera Cast's development into something genuinely useful is this deck's lack of reliable DivX playback from a USB stick, though we'd put the omission of DLNA networking as more of a concern.

And the lack of built-in storage for BD Live downloads is annoying.

Final verdict:

If you want the last word in all-round Blu-ray features, head for Panasonic's flagship DMP-BD85 deck.

If, on the other hand, you don't require analogue outputs and can happily cope with using either a Wi-Fi dongle or an Ethernet cable for BD Live and Viera Cast, the super-slim and fast DMP-BD65 makes for an excellent value buy; its picture quality is just as good as the higher-end alternative.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview