Think the race for connected TV gadgets is crowded now? Think Blu-ray is doomed (as Apple CEO Steve Jobs seems to think). Perhaps you should think again.

In 2011, Facebook and other companies may join Apple, Google and Microsoft in the cloud TV arena. What’s more, the Strategy Analytics research group ( notes that Apple’s iTunes will enter its second decade with challenges ahead, and Nintendo will have to decide what to do about the decline of the Wii. Social networks will pass one billion users, $10 billion will be spent on Blu-ray discs, and more than 500 million connected TV devices will be in use. Revenues from tablets will exceed netbooks, but on the downside, only 20% of 3DTV owners will be watching 3D content.

“2011 promises to be another exciting year in the evolution of the digital home,” says David Mercer, principal analyst, Strategy Analytics. “Many of the key elements of the next generation home are now in place, such as connected devices, high speed broadband and advanced user interfaces; it’s up to key players to pull these together to create compelling experiences and drive added value.”

No company is in a better position than Apple to do this. There’s no reason to believe that iTunes won’t continue to dominate the online media market, and that the iPad will continue to rule the tablet market. The Apple TV should continue to flourish — especially if Apple has the big plans I think it does for the ginormous data center it’s building in North Carolina.

As for Blu-ray, I think Apple will continue to keep it off the Mac, hoping to force us to buy movies from iTunes. As I’ve said many times before — and doubtless will again — I think that’s a mistake.

— Dennis Sellers