News@8pm: Microsoft enter TV wars and HTC tablet named

Plus: Call of Duty subscriptions inbound and Toshiba tablet

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Microsoft will be pitching into the set-top box wars after reports have revealed it's close to unveiling its own model. There's no name yet, but a pared down Media Centre UI to make it user friendly has been mooted. More details will be released at Steve Ballmer's keynote tomorrow evening. It's expected to go toe-to-toe with Google TV and Apple TV. Talking of Cupertino's finest, Apple hasn't wasted any time nudging their products northwards with the UK's VAT increase to 20 per cent. The rises aren't too eyewatering, but a £1,999 MacBook Pro will now come in at £2,041.


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CES is likely to be going tablet-crazy over the next few days, so getting in one of the first shots is HTC which is expected to unveil its own Scribe tablet, which is expected to run Google's upcoming Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS. Another Far-Eastern giant looking for a slice of tablet pie is Toshiba. Fresh on from their undwhelming Folio, they have demoed an as-yet unnamed 10in Android 3.0 Honeycomb device. Far more familiar territory for Toshiba is laptops and they are threatening to unveil the Holy Grail of 3D; yep, glasses-free viewing on their new Qosmio laptop.

Following hot on the heels of the Big M's Kinect is Asus' very own motion sensing effort, the WAVI Xtion. Expected after Easter, the console will allow users to enjoy and share PC content on TV with gestures. Hoping to add to the commercially successful Kinect is a new service called Avatar Kinect. Not many details are available, but expect gamers' avatars to hook up via Xbox Live and shoot the breeze virtually. Talking of gaming, Call of Duty, is expected to add paid-for online content to its armoury. Analysts expect a 'first quarter' launch for a subcriptions based 'second tier' on board COD.

Sony's nifty little video recorder, the Bloggie is set to receive 3D shooting credentials. Alongside a wealth of new product launches, the pocket friendly shooter will reportedly offer full HD 3D video capture for homemade 3D playback via a 3DTV enabled set. Also fighting to get its share of airtime at CES will be Kodak who will push out a series of eye-catching launches. The Easyshare Touch video camera looks the best bet, packing a 3-inch capacitive touchpanel, 14-megapixel sensor and HDMI for quick transfer to HD TV.