On the h/w side of things, the main contenders are:
Nvidea Shield ($300 for basic model, $400 for media server version -- I assume that adds storage)
Roku (Roku-4 is $135, Roku Premiere Plus is $110, Roku Ultra is $160)
Amazon Fire TV (not sure if this will work in Canada or if what it offers that the others don't will work)
Apple TV (never buy Apple, so no idea of the cost but expect it to be more than the others)
Android TV box (a ton of different options available here, most under $100)
Smart TV running Android TV (if you are shopping for a new TV you should certainly consider this option as the "TV Box" is built-in)
OK, that's a quick summary of what I know. A quick summary of what I don't know would take me too long to write. Hoping that some of you can chime in so we can all learn together.
Right now I have an old ChromeCast on the upstairs TV and it's really ticking me off. When I start playing a Netflix show from my phone to it, I veryq uickly lose the interface to control the playback. And not just pause/rewind, but also when I finish watching an episode, I can't stop it. I just walk over and pull the USB cable from the dongle to power it down. Weird. It used to work fine, before.
If/when I cut the cord I will be using Netflix (as well as other sources) more heavily, so I definitely will need a TV box of some sort. On the downstairs tv, it has Netflix built in so, short-term, not an issue. Not sure if there is a CraveTV app for it but I'll certainly check it out (it's an LG Smart TV so there's hope). I also have a PS-3 co-located so that's another option. Worst case, I'll buy a second TV box of some sort.
Does anyone know more about the Netflix HD limitations? Exactly what am I missing when using a generic Android TV box? With an Android TV box I can install Kodi or Showbox and pretty much any other app I want/need. I doubt I would have the same flexibility on the Shield or even a device running Android TV (versus stock Android). I will need Netflix, Crave, access to website streaming (e.g. HGTV.ca). Do the Shield boxes allow me all of these options? What about the grey-ares like Kodi/Showbox? Which ones will not have those?
Lots more questions to come.