What is a Cable-Ready Apartment?

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While there are plenty of internet-based TV streaming services today such as Hulu, NetFlix, Disney+, many people still prefer good old-fashioned cable for things like watching sports and listening to the news. Have you ever seen an apartment listing that says ‘cable-ready’ when you are looking to rent? What does it mean when an apartment listing says cable ready? Generally speaking, this means the apartment is pre-wired for you to easily get cable TV in your apartment from a cable provider such as Comcast, Verizon, TimeWarner, or others, depending on your local region.

What is cable ready?

Generally speaking, cable ready is a term real estate agencies or property managers use in an apartment listing to let you know that the apartment is pre-wired for cable. This means the property is capable of receiving cable TV.

Does cable-ready mean the service is provided as well?

Generally, No! If an apartment is cable ready, this means that it is wired for cable. You will typically have to get cable service separately by contacting the service provider and activating it under your name. A cable ready apartment means you can get service quickly, so you can start enjoying more TV channels without having to wait for the wires to be installed.

How to find out what cable options are available?

Here are some things to ask your property manager –

  • What companies are available for cable service (i.e. Comcast, Verizon, TimeWarner)?
  • Do you have a person I can contact? This can be helpful as many times apartment communities have local representatives you can deal with that might make the cable process easier than calling the 1-800 number the rest of the area must call.
  • Does this same company also provide wifi/internet? Generally speaking, it is the same company that provides cable that does internet, but not always. You might have a choice for example to use Google Fiber for internet and Comcast for Cable.

What questions to ask Cable company?

  • How does it get activated in the apartment? Do I need to schedule an appointment or can you activate remotely? Some newer apartments might have the cable ready to go without even having a representative come out.
  • What kind of Internet/Wi-Fi is available on the property? What internet speeds are available?
  • Do you have any packages/deals for new move ins? It can’t hurt to ask, there might be a special move ins. Usually they bundle internet and cable together to offer a better deal, but check the math, as it might make more sense to buy them separately.
  • What is the contract length term? Find out the term of contract and what happens if you have to break the cable contract early?
  • How do you disconnect your service if you have to move out? Ask about the process when you move out? Do you have to return the equipment? Can you mail the equipment back in?

At the end of the day, remember that cable is never free in an apartment unless the listing explicitly states that. Even if an apartment is cable ready, you still have to pay to activate and use the service.


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