Category Archives: General Discussion

Dolby Atmos for Music? Yes, please!

I’m a huge fan of Dolby Atmos. I enjoy having it as part of my experience playing games on Xbox. So, when I saw this video about bringing that technology to music, I was all ears (no pun intended). I would love to hear what artists can do when they’re unshackled from being only in left/right channels, and can now take their vision and, literally, surround you with it.

This is awesome.

Of HDMI ports, and entertainment, on Xbox One…

The Xbox One can be ideal, when you want to use it for media, as well as games.

From the outset, the Xbox One was designed to be a great media device, as well as a gaming console. If you remember the Xbox 360, it was a sea of media apps for music, video, and more. The Xbox One was ready to dial that up to 11, and make it the one place to be completely entertained, when you turned on the TV set.

Of course, backlash ensued, as Xbox seemed to make too much of the media capabilities. A lot of the entertainment ideas were scaled back, and now the Xbox One is a gaming device, with media tendencies. If the ports on the Xbox Series X are to be believed, you may not even get an HDMI-In port.

Ah, yes, let’s discuss that HDMI-In port, for a second. To me, this was a key port of the Xbox One. The way Xbox tells it, you use that port to plug in a cable box. Then, coupled with the OneGuide and media settings, you’d be able to easily get into television shows, when you want to take a break from Halo or Gears of War.

Naturally, people realized that if you plugged in anything, with an HDMI plug, that port would work. You can plug in an Apple TV, Roku Stick, Amazon Fire TV, cable box. Hell, you can plug in an Xbox 360, Playstation 4, or NIntendo Switch. That little port made it all possible.

Fast forward to 2020. That port, frankly, is now an afterthought, and as I noted, it may not even be on the next Xbox One console. I, personally, think it should remain, but if Xbox really wants to lean into gaming, then having their users focus squarely on gaming seems to be where they plan to go.

Of course, there’s actually another way Xbox could be a viable entertainment device: apps. Right now Xbox One has a good selection media apps: Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN, etc.

If Xbox One, and Windows in general, can boost the number of entertainment apps available (making sure all of the major streaming TV services, and TV everywhere apps are there) then there may not be a need for the HDMI port. And, in the case of the Xbox Series X, if that console can perform with the speed of light, as being advertised, getting out of a game, and into the next episode of “The Mandalorian” should be a breeze, and fulfill that instant gratification.

But let us have a discussion about entertainment on Xbox. Specifically:

  • Of all the time you spend on Xbox, how much of that is used for media?
  • What’s your most used media app(s) on Xbox?
  • Do you use the HDMI-In port on the console? What do you have plugged in back there?
  • Are there some entertainment apps you’d love to see on the Xbox platform?

Let’s have that discussion: Leave a comment, or continue the conversation on Twitter.

5 Things to Know About Marques: Music Edition

So, I’ve said quite a bit, already, about Disney. Now let me talk about my second love: Music. Honestly, music is my first love, but this blog took off creatively, for me, when I put to digital paper the type of conversations, about Disney, that I have with friends and co-workers.

Rather than simply saying “Hey, I love music!” I wanted to make this particular post interesting, by telling you 5 things about me that you might find interesting. I’ve said a few of these things, to people, in the course of conversations. Some of these things may be completely new.

All are true.

Continue reading

Can we geek out, for a moment, on nature documentaries?

Netflix. Apple TV Plus. Disney Plus.

They all have amazing content to watch. Great original programming, blockbuster films, etc.

What the three have in common, as far as having me as a subscriber is concerned, is that they somehow (lovingly) end up as services to mostly satisfy my craving, and love, for nature documentaries.

I don’t know when this started, but I’m such a sucker for swooping drone shots, over the cold floors of Antarctica. I get a great thrill watching a cheetah chase down its prey, for that day. It gives me kid-like giggles to watch the sun rise off the horizon, as animals graze and wander about, like a scene out of The Lion King.

Throw cold water on me. I’m getting warm here.

‘The Elephant Queen” is available on Apple TV Plus.

The first example of this was “The Elephant Queen” documentary on Apple TV Plus. This show was about a pack of elephants migrating across hot, sand in search of an oasis. Without giving too much away, there’s moments of great relief and moments of great sorrow. The whole time, I was greatly riveted.

The story of the elephants was also a conduit to talk about what other animals did during warm summer days (it always cracks me up to see what other animals do during their mating seasons – there’s some pretty interesting rituals out there).

This show looks amazing in 4k/HDR. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor does a wonderful job with narration. If you have Apple TV Plus, I highly recommend checking out this documentary.

“Hostile Planet” is available on Disney Plus.

The second documentary, that has captured my attention, is “Hostile Planet.” This is a multi-part show, on Disney Plus, presented by National Geographic.

The show focuses, of course, on different animals and wildlife, but it also presents how wildlife manages to survive and make it through extreme climates and situations. From mountains and oceans, to jungles and wild lands, Hostile Planet offers an amazing look at how wildlife survives in the face of great environments.

Presented in stunning HD, Bear Grylls narrates the story. If you have Disney Plus, give the first episode “Mountains” a look, and see if you don’t want to press play on the next episode.

“Continent 7: Antartica” is available on Disney Plus.

Finally, also on Disney Plus, is “Continent 7: Antarctica”. This show follows a group of scientists, as they embark on a mission to study the -100 degree F environments of Antarctica. Of course, it isn’t easy, but it’s amazing to watch.

When you watch shows, such as this, you really do feel the sense of danger that comes with what these scientists are trying to study. This show, like “Hostile Planet” is also available on Disney Plus.

Can you tell I really love this kind of stuff? I could geek out on this all day, but I won’t take up too much more of your time. If you want to tell me about your favorite nature documentaries, or have a conversation about the ones I’ve mentioned, feel free to leave a comment here, or continue the discussion on Twitter.

Music Spotlight: DCapella

I’m a trombonist, and I always love being part of a group. They say that the trombone is meant to have the brilliance of a trumpet, and the mellow tones of a french horn. I can go along with that. It’s great. However, there’s something to be said about the human voice. The power of an instrument that we all carry, with us, every single day.

Think back to groups like Boyz II Men or Rockapella. These were highly talented groups, who were able to take acapella singing, and turn it into an artform. I have favorite songs, from both groups, and they continue to be on my permanent rotation, today.

Now there’s another group, to add to the list: DCapella. Yes, they are an acapella ensemble, that’s built to bring Disney songs to life. I was first introduced to them through a playlist of modern Disney music, that I found on Apple Music. My introduction to them was “Friend LIke Me,” the song from Aladdin. I’ve embedded the video of them performing that song, below, so you can check it out, too.

While “Friend Like Me” is fantastic, the song that really solidified their spot in my rotation is “Immortals” Yes, the same song by Fall Out Boy from the Disney movie “Big Hero 6.” They managed to take the grooving, driven essence of the song and power it, with just their voice.

So, tell you what: Take a listen to the group, and let me know what you think. We can discuss in the comments, below, or on Twitter.

This is one talented group of people, right here!