Microsoft has announced that it is upgrading its Zune digital media player in the US, hours before Apple is expected to add new models to its iPod line.

From next week, Zune users in the US will be able to buy tracks directly via the device's built-in FM radio. Those who install the soon-to-be-released software and firmware updates will be able to tag songs they hear on the radio, and then search for the tracks by accessing Microsoft's Zune marketplace over Wi-Fi. Microsoft's store will then give them the option to the buy the tracks.

"Digital music services really come alive when they help people find not only the music they know they like, but the music they didn't know they would love," said Chris Stephenson, general manager of Global Marketing for Zune at Microsoft.

Microsoft is also expanding the range with new higher capacity 16GB and 120GB Zunes as well as new blue-on-silver and sleek all-black colour schemes. Prices for the Zune line will range from $130 to $250.

Microsoft's media player is not available in the UK.

See also:

Coming today: Cheap iPod touch or iTunes Unlimited?

Microsoft Zune review