No cable? No problem! Here are the best ways to watch cartoons without cable so you & your little geeks can enjoy Saturday morning cartoons together (or Monday, or Tuesday or… well, any day of the week!).
Status: you and your little geeks want to watch cartoons. Problem: you don’t have cable. Question: what do you do?
It may feel a little bit like you’re on an episode of Mission: Impossible whenever you try to circumvent your lack of cable TV when you want to check out various shows or specials. You end up scrolling through hundreds of pages of web sites, looking for the perfect streaming or downloading solution (all legal, of course!).
I know I felt like some action-movie hacker, with sweat beading my brow, my Big Gulp of soda almost empty, and a loco-crazy look in my eyes, when I attempted to figure out how to watch the Academy Awards without cable or using someone else’s Comcast account. Sad answer: you can’t, at least not legally…
But watching cartoons? MUCH easier!
I’ve got a rundown of the best and easiest ways to catch some ‘toons with your little geeks when you don’t have cable TV. Included here are a look at pay streaming services, buying discs or downloads, or checking out free streaming sites with awesome cartoons.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take a deep breath, wipe that sweat from your brow and follow me, calmly. Cause this, friends and neighbors, is really super easy.
The Best Ways to Watch Cartoons Without Cable
Catching ‘Toons With Pay Streaming Services
There are a few options out there right now, but we’ll focus on the current Big Three: Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Netflix is by far the biggest venue for streaming content out there, in terms of popularity and presence. They have thousands upon thousands of TV shows and movies available for instant streaming. The selection of content gets even wider when you consider they also still mail out discs, many of which can’t be found in the streaming section.
Right now, Netflix will run you $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming and $15.98 for unlimited streaming + 1 disc out at a time.
And what are the best cartoons for geeks available on Netflix right now?
- Phineas & Ferb
- Transformers Prime
- Dexter’s Laboratory
- Adventure Time
- Johnny Bravo
- Venture Bros.
- Batman Beyond
Now Hulu Plus seems a bit of a late-comer to the streaming game, but they’ve been around for awhile. They began as a totally free streaming site for premium material. Then they became ad-supported and began to offer a subscription deal for customer that would give them even more and better content without any ads. You can still watch some stuff for free, but for $7.99 a month, you can watch some awesome ad-free ‘toons with the kiddos, like:
- The Simpsons
- Danger Mouse
- X-Men Evolution
- He-Man / She-Ra
Amazon Prime’s Instant Video Service is a bit different in that it’s meant to work with almost every aspect of Amazon’s site, which is much broader than its streaming service, of course. It costs $79 per year ($99 after 4/17/14), but you get free two-day Amazon shipping on most products and access to the Kindle lender’s library, as well as unlimited streaming service.
I was an Amazon Prime member for two years and found that the service paid for itself quickly, especially if you use Amazon as a pretty frequent marketplace.
But enough with all that! What geeky cartoons does it have?
- Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius
- Flying Rhino Junior High
- Growing Up Creepie
- Avatar The Last Airbender
- Marvel Comics X-Men
- Iron Man: Extremis
- Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers
And those are all great options for getting past the no-cable barrier. But you need to have a set top box to watch it all on.
In that case, you’ll also want to have either a Roku, Apple TV, or the super cool Chromecast hooked up to your TV as your ‘cable box’ (we actually have both… A Roku 1 (aka a paperweight now) and an Apple TV).
If that’s the case, you may want to consider…
Buying Cartoons via Blu-Ray and Download
It’s just about impossible to find VHS tapes of anything anymore (outside of garage sales and dumpsters…), but there are still plenty of DVD and Blu-Ray discs going around! Who knows how much longer they’ll be available, before they go they way of the Dodo, but for now, they’re a viable option for watching cartoons without cable.
Obviously, I don’t have to tell you how to buy DVDs and Blu-Rays… You know you can go, well, anywhere and do that.
But the other option is buying a movie or TV show season directly via download. Where do you go to do that?
Well, the most popular destination, of course, is iTunes. Here, using the music-playing/music-marketplace app on your phone, tablet or computer, you can have access to TONS of content. Some of the better cartoon option found at iTunes include:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Avengers Assemble
- The Simpsons
- Family Guy
- Rick and Morty
- Ben 10
- Transformers Rescue Bots
But why pay for cartoon downloads and discs when you can be…
Watching Cartoons on Free Websites
Cartoon World is the best option for geeky parents looking to save a buck, and you really don’t miss out on too much with these sites.
Sure, you may not be able to get your hands on ad-free episodes of new cartoon series, but even so, the commercials you have to sit through tend to be far fewer than those found on cable TV anyway.
So, without further adieu, here’s a brief list of some of the best free streaming sites for geeky cartoons:
- Hulu Plus— Watch almost everything as a paying Hulu Plus member, but sit through a few ads
- Most Major Network Websites — Like Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon’s sites that feature full series episodes
- Cartoon World — a free site with shows like Avengers Assemble, Adventure Time, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Naruto Shippuden, Pokemon, Teen Titans Go! and more
- Watch Cartoon Online — free with shows like Adventure Time, Space Dandy, Pokemon, The Simpsons, Ben 10 and lots more
And that’s just a small smattering of the free sites out there! If you can’t find the cartoon you’re looking for with any of the option above, just send me a comment and I’ll find the right site for you to check out!
As you can see, you need never feel bad for giving up cable TV to cut down on bills–there are so many options today for circumventing the need for cable that it’s almost become redundant.
Whether you’re paying for a streaming service, downloading/buying discs of your favorite seasons of your favorite cartoons, or just dealing with the ads on the free streaming sites, there are ways to watch just about every cartoon that is or ever was with your little geeks in a matter of minutes.
So carry on, fellow geeky parents! Fire up the internet and get your fill of geeky ‘toons!
(I think I’m going to be doing the same. Right now.)
What are your favorite cartoon-watching services that are not cable TV? Any awesome free sites I missed here? Hook me up! Hook all of us up!