Buying / Playing - Dutch / Flemish videos in USA

Recommendations and opinions of books, dictionaries, programs, movies, shows, comedy, video players (region issues), music, websites, courses, where to buy Dutch stuff if you don't live there, etc.
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Tom
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Buying / Playing - Dutch / Flemish videos in USA

Post by Tom » Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:02 pm

I got this question from Karamanch:
You mentioned in your posts that tekenfilms help. Where can an American living in America find Dutch cartoons or children's books? As far as multimedia, currently I watch Belgian and Dutch online news and other (limited) programs, listen to online radio, and read whatever sites I can find in Dutch. I have one Dutch children's book (Richard Scarry's Eerste Speel- en Oefenboek), but it was a gift from a friend.

I tried to search the forum for this, but came up empty.

Thanks!

Kara

I will post the answer here as I think it may prove useful to others as well.

I will try to address a few things:

Where to buy
What to look for
What you need
Some suggestions


Where to buy - this is the easy one.

http://www.bol.com and use menu to go to netherlands or
http://www.bol.nl

http://www.proxis.be

What to look for -

If you want to hear the video in Dutch or Flemish look for
"Nederlands gesproken" or "Vlaams gesproken"
Sometimes it may list "Taal" language and say it there also with
the type of audio used such as stereo, Dolby 5.1, DTS or stuff like that.

Then there are subtitles aka "ondertitels" with a list of languages
available.

For example, I bought "Stuart Little 2" and it was listed as
Talen Nederlands Vlaams Engels
Dolby
Digital 5.1 5.1 5.1

Ondertiteling Nederlands, Engels, Hindeoestaans

So I can watch it in Dutch, Flemish and English with
Dutch or English subtitles and any comibation thereof.

I don't speak Hindu, so that is not much use for me.

I must also say, always remember, "LET THE BUYER BEWARE"!
I bought two Lassie DVD's that clearly said they were
"NEDERLANDS GESPROKEN". Guess what? They were in English
with Dutch subtitles! (luckily they were only 4 euro's each).

REGION 2 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DVD's are marked with a different Region code for different areas of the world.
The USA is REGION 1 and Belgium and Netherlands are REGION 2 for EUROPE.
There is also a REGION 0 which has a special meaning in that it can be played
on any DVD player regardless of region.

The most DVD players that we buy in the US are desigated for REGION 1. Which
means they won't play the REGION 2 DVD's. How nice is that?
However, you can buy a "regionfree" DVD player (look on the internet) but they
often cost more money. Another alternative is to buy a DVD player which can be changed
into a REGION 0 (free) player by entering a "secret cheat code or something like that".
You can search the internet to your hearts content. I bought a Philips DVP-642
(dvd player) for about $70. It also plays divx (if you interested). I bought
it from compusa but it is also available at http://www.amazon.com.
Well you can see from the review on amazon that you can convert it to region free.
I searched the internet to find the instructions and it worked.

The other thing you can do is watch the videos (dvds) on your computer.
Of course most computers tell you that it is REGION 2 DVD and give you
the option to change the player to REGION 2. Of course, if you watch
a REGION 1 DVD later it will ask you to change again. They only let you
do this a few time, maybe 4 or 5 and then it locks in. I have two
DVD readers in my computer to avoid this hassle, one for REGION 1 and the other
for REGION 2.

There are some programs out there if you want to use your computer to copy
your dvd and take make it region free. I think the quality is degraded a bit
in the process, however. You also have to ask youself if it is worth your time?
That is why I bought the DVD player and made it region free and also a have
2 dvd players in the same computer.

PAL or NTSC.

We use NTSC (Never The Same Color) standard in the US. In much of Europe it
is PAL. So you need to make sure that you DVD player can play PAL and convert
it to NTSC when it plays it to your American Television. Just another thing
to check! They don't make this easy, huh? The DVP-642 does this with no problem!

Some suggestions -

For your first purchase, just buy one dvd or book. Make sure you like the
company you are dealing with!

Buy DVD's for your level. Disney's Bambi, Snow White and Pinnochio are for really
young kids. The is not too much talking in it and it is really simple. For me
it is too simple and there are two few words, thus it bores me now.
Shrek and "The Emperors New Groove" (Keizer Kuzco) have a lot more going on and
have what I would call mid level language use. Besides they are fun and I enjoy
watching them over and over. Then there are shows like Kabouter Plop and Piet
Piraat. They are made by Studio 100 in Belgium and are absolutely fantastic!
In fact, I have not seen anything from Studio 100 that was not great! I don't know
how they do it. (I can't wait to go to visit Plopsaland theme park in Belgium.)
Of course, no english subtitles. But with a dictionary you can learn a lot!
You can buy Flemish and Dutch TV series as well if you are more advanced.
I love "Flikken".

Be prepared for sticker shock! They are not as cheap as DVD's in the US!
You can find some bargains, but be careful or you will get stuck with
Lassie in English with only Dutch subtitles!

I hope this introduction is of some help.

Tom
Last edited by Tom on Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by elliottp » Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:24 am

Wow! Great post Tom! Thanks for taking the time.

I'll throw in a good word for Proxis.be. I've ordered several books and video's from them and have had nothing but good service. The prices aren't too bad and shipping is reasonable.

I'm going to definitely check out some of video recommendations you have in there. I would also add that the Dutch versions of the Harry Potter films are fabulous. I actually like the Dutch voice track better than the English. I have the 1st and third films and they appear to have the same dutch actors throughout the series for each of the characters. I suppose the language would be intermediate as well. I'm currenlty using the 3rd movie for developing my listening skills by listening and typing out the lines into a word doc. It's slow going for me but is really beneficial and fun.

If folks don't want to go to the trouble of buying a region free DVD player, or modding their own. You can download for free, the videolan DVD player for just adbout any platform. It's open source, totally free of cost and is region free as well so you can play any region DVD's on your computer without having to select a region and worry about the limited number of times you are able to switch. It can be found here: http://www.videolan.org I use it on linux and on windows with good results.

[edit] I was just reading on the videolan website that some of the newer drives are using a more robust security that may not let videolan do the region free trick. Can't hurt to try it though since it has worked on all of my machines which are only a couple of years old.

I've also modded both of my regular DVD players (a pioneer and a toshiba) with modified firmware that I found on the net which makes them permanently region free. I've run across a few region 2 disks that wouldn't respond to the remote command codes but after flashing the players with the modified firmware, they work like a champ. So this is also an option for a lot of players. A search on your particular model player and "region free" or "region hack" should get you somewhere.

Thanks again for the recommendations, you've got my curiousity up with the high praise for the Studio 100 titles. What is it about them that you like so much?
--Elliott--

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Tom
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Studio 100 et al

Post by Tom » Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:48 am

I have several of their (Studio 100) musicals. Their songs are great and singing along helps.
They have a web site where you can find the lyrics too!

The ones I have are:
Sneeuwwittje
De Kleine Zeemeermin - with Kathleen from K3
Doornroosje - with K3
De Drie Biggetjes - with K3

(I am also a big K3 fan, if you have not guessed!)

Then there are the shows from the TV

I have seen the following on TV while on vacation in Belgium

Samson and Geert
Kabouter Plop
Piet Piraat

I have some of their movies on DVD / TV episodes.

When I go on vacation there (Belgium or Netherlands), I go nuts in the video stores.
I stock up for my return trip home. The other thing is I get to
check out the bargain bins too! Sometimes, they have used DVDs for
sale as well.

So why do I like them so much?

Well for one, it is not just an American cartoon dubbed into Dutch.
So it gives some insite into how people act and say things there, in
this case, Flanders. I absolutely love Flanders.

They are meant for children, but are so in a Bugs Bunny kind of way.
What I mean by that is things are going on at more than one level.
In a Bugs Bunny cartoon, there are things that children enjoy and yet
there are things that only adults with understand and enjoy as well.
These musicals are woven in a similar way. Regarding the songs -
I like just about every one! It is like buying a record album where
you like just about every song. (The Beatles or the Bare Naked Ladies in my case).
Somehow they just click with my taste. It may not be everyone elses cup of tea.

The TV shows are really intended for children to learn the language and
behavior. They are educational and fun at the same time. They also give
some insite to the culture. Children in Flanders tend to be very polite, kind, and
well behaved in my opinion. I lived in Belgium for about a year (20 years ago) and
that was my experience. It was quite noticeable.

Studio 100's focus is on children's programming. They have their niche and do it
quite well.

I don't want to sell the Dutch programs short. You gain some insites into their
culture as well. "The Vlaamsche Pot" (nothing to do with Flanders) is a comedy
series from a few years back. It is quite a funny situation comedy.

The Dutch also have many excellent movies such as
Soldaat van Oranje
Karakter
In Oranje
...

Oh well, I hope I have given some idea as to why I like the stuff Studio 100 puts out.

By the way, if anyone knows where I could find an old program on DVD called "Het Super Liegebeest"
I would appreciate it if they could let me know. It was on BRT in about 1986 (a tv series).
I have been searching the internet with no luck.

Thanks,
Tom

P.S.

Oh, and by the way, I like some of the "dubbed" shows/movies better in Dutch or Flemish than in English as well. Somehow they seem to match the voices to the
characters better (mostly cartoons and puppet shows).

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