Roku: Was my primary "go to" for several years, until they started getting greedy and haggling with streaming services over money, most recent examples being the HBO Max and Peacock fiascos. Roku ORIGINALLY billed itself as an "open platform". It was that which prompted me to explore "other avenues". I discovered that two of the "other avenues" loaded apps faster and had higher streaming quality, and their remote controls didn't have to be "resynced" every couple of days like the Roku remote. At least the Roku has IR remote capability, so I was able to forget about the buggy supplied remote and use a reliable third party universal remote. A plus is the easy to navigate UI though. Still no official Twitch app on the Roku however, and some of the live podcasts I regularly watch only stream live on that service (I'm looking at YOU, "The Morning Stream").
Nvidia Shield: The first replacement I tried after Roku's fiasco. Bought the tube-shaped "Shield TV" version. The remote is well designed apart from it being a bitch to get the cover off to replace the batteries. The user interface is nice and easy to navigate, like the Roku. Streaming apps for all the services I use are on the Shield, except ONE... Britbox. I don't fault the Shield for that. I blame Britbox for not making an Android app compatible with the device. It WOULD be nice to use an infared universal remote with the device instead of the supplied remote, but the device only works with RF frequency, unless you buy some third party IR USB converters.
Apple TV: Easily the best picture quality of the bunch. However, the supplied remote control design sucks donkey balls. Luckily, like the Roku, the box accepts IR signals also, so I can use a third party universal remote instead. Apps load very fast on the Apple TV and it has all the ones I use, HOWEVER, there doesn't seem to be a way to rearrange them, or remove the ones which are built in that I'll never use, like iTunes, pictures, and other Apple-centric apps. Also, no way apparently to disable the "recommended content" on the home screen. Too much unnecessary "clutter" on the home screen as a result of the things I just mentioned. The TV box is the ONLY Apple product I own, and it's the most expensive out of the Shield TV and Roku.
Lastly, the two TVs I currently own. The Sony in the living room is too limited in its streaming capabilities to even consider. When purchased a few years ago, it used the Opera based operating system, which was depreciated not long after I purchased the TV. Mainly only two apps are working on it currently, Netflix (which I don't subscribe to) and YouTube. The LG in the bedroom is somewhat better. Has everything I watch EXCEPT HBO Max. However, I mainly only use it for live streams on YouTube or Twitch, since there seems to be no way in the TV settings to turn off "video smoothing"(or whatever it is called) for the WebOS apps. You can disable it for everything else, including live over the air TV. For example, say, Paramount+(formerly CBS All Access). If I try to watch an older "Star Trek" series on the LG WebOS app, it looks like a freggin' soap opera, not like something shot on film, like it was. The shows look like they SHOULD when viewed over an external device with the same app connected to the TV.
In conclusion, WHY can't there be ONE device that is smooth as silk for everything? If someone came out with such a device, they'd rake in the cash!
Also, before suggesting anything to me, keep in mind I require the device to have an ethernet port. Wifi is too damn unreliable for decent streaming!
Coming Soon (maybe): A rant on why there are no longer any "perfect" web browsers.