The latest Blu-ray sales figures from NPD Group have been far from stellar since the demise of the competing HD DVD format back in February.

Sales of standalone Blu-ray players were down 40 percent from January to February, then up 2 percent from February to March, following the death of HD DVD. Hardly the sales spike many predicted after Toshiba canned the competing high def format.

DVD upscalers blamed

Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD claims that cheaper upconverting DVD players (on average $70 in the US right now) are still the preference for the majority of consumers, when compared with far more expensive standalone Blu-ray players (costing American consumers $300 and up).

NPD claims Blu-ray sales should pick up nearer to Christmas, when prices should drop down to the $200 range, while research firm ABI Research are even less optimistic, claiming it will be later in 2009 before Blu-ray really goes mass market.

Meanwhile Microsoft refuses to confirm support of Blu-ray for its Xbox 360 console and seems to be sticking to its original strategy of supporting movie downloads.