Return to articles

A Guide to Getting Cable TV Service in Your Apartment

Looking for TV service in your new apartment? Learn how to choose the right provider, manage installation, understand your bill, save money, and more.

Whether you’re a new apartment owner or renter, one of your first priorities is setting up essential utilities – and in many cases, TV service is at the top of the list. From choosing the best broadband cable service provider to understanding your bill, here's your move-in guide to navigating the world of cable TV in your new apartment.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Provider

Choosing the right cable provider for your needs isn’t always an easy decision. Generally, you’ll need to consider several aspects of the type of cable service you need, your budget, and many other factors:

  • Availability: Not all cable providers serve every area. Research which companies offer service to your specific apartment building.
  • Packages and Pricing: Compare the channels offered, promotions available, and pricing to help you find the perfect balance of your needs and costs.
  • Contract terms: Understand contract lengths, potential fees/penalties, and possible price increases after an introductory period.
  • Customer service: The cable company you work with should have a solid reputation and top-tier customer service support, just in case you run into issues that need immediate attention.

Should You Bundle Internet and TV?

Many cable companies offer bundles that combine Internet (including WiFi) and TV services. Benefits of bundling can include:

  • Simplified billing: One bill for both your TV and Internet connection.
  • Potential discounts: Bundles sometimes cost less than separate packages.
  • Convenience: Dealing with a single provider for multiple services can save you time and a lot of frustration.

Much like choosing the best cable company offered at your apartment complex, you’ll need to do your research to ensure your Internet service provider (ISP) offers the Internet speeds, connection types (i.e., fiber optic, DSL, coaxial cable), and packages that fit your lifestyle and budget.

Customizing Your Cable TV Package with Add-Ons

Cable companies like Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, and Cox typically offer a base package. However, in most cases, they also offer add-ons to enhance your TV watching experience. They may include:

  • Premium channels: Add HBO, Showtime, Starz, and more for an extra fee.
  • Sports packages: Access dedicated sports networks for specific leagues.
  • DVR service: Record shows and watch them when, where, and how you want.

Installation Process for Cable TV in Apartments

It’s essential to note that the installation process for newer apartments and older complexes may differ. Further, there will be slight differences if you’re transferring your current plan instead of signing up for a new one. However, in general, most new cable installs consist of the following steps:

  • Pre-wiring: Ensure your apartment is cable-ready, meaning it already has existing coax cabling, making installation much easier. If not, it will likely require professional installation.
  • Scheduling: Contact your chosen cable company to schedule an installation appointment.
  • Access: Ensure your cable technician can easily access relevant connection points within your apartment, and potentially in common building areas. Check with your landlord or property manager if you’re unsure.

The exact setup process can differ from provider to provider. However, in many cases, they require a similar amount of effort and planning.

DIY vs. Professional Installation: What to Expect

Maybe you and/or your roommates want to save a bit of money and set up your cable connection by yourself. While it’s certainly possible, it’s not always recommended. Generally, here’s when you should consider taking the DIY route vs. calling a professional:

  • DIY: If your apartment is pre-wired, you're tech-savvy, and have a bit of time on your hands, doing it by yourself is possible. Installing it on your own can result in significant savings on installation fees.
  • Professional: Having an expert handle the installation is recommended for complex setups or if you're uncomfortable with wiring. It ensures proper setup and less risk of troubleshooting issues later, especially if you have a smart TV.

Troubleshooting Common Cable TV Issues

Typical apartment cable problems during the installation process include:

  • Signal issues: Fuzzy picture, pixelation, or complete signal loss.
  • Connection problems: Loose or damaged cables.
  • Equipment malfunctions: Problems with your cable box or remote control.

If you run into these issues or similar, it’s generally in your best interest to contact your cable provider's customer support for help as soon as possible.

Understanding Cable TV Billing and Fees

Your cable bill includes disclaimers, various line item fees, and more. As such, it’s typically best to carefully look over your invoice to understand:

  • Base package cost: The monthly fee for your chosen channel lineup.
  • Equipment rental fees: Charges for cable boxes, DVRs, modems, etc.
  • Taxes: Local and state taxes that apply.
  • Broadcast fees: Costs for local channels.
  • Regional sports network fees: Charges for local sports networks.

Tips for Reducing Your Cable TV Bill

The average cable package for U.S. households is $217.42 per month. However, that doesn’t mean that your bill has to be so high. There are ways to reduce your costs. They include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Negotiate: Call your TV provider and ask for discounts or promotional offers.
  • Downsize your package: Remove premium channels, or switch to a smaller basic package.
  • Bundle: Consider bundling Internet, TV, and phone service if it results in savings.

Additionally, thanks to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), you’re not limited to one exclusive provider in most cases. As such, if you find that your current provider doesn’t fit your budget, don’t be afraid to entertain other options. Depending on the company, you may be eligible for first-time customer discounts and/or lower overall costs offered by competitors.

Advantages of Cable TV in Apartment Living

Compared to satellite TV, antennas, and streaming services, cable TV offers many advantages. They include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Reliability: Cable TV is often less prone to buffering than streaming TV over WiFi, especially for live events.
  • Local channels: Cable provides reliable access to local news and network broadcasts.
  • Sports: Cable offers channels that are dedicated to live sports programming through major networks and sports packages.

Find the Right TV Provider Near You

Selecting the right provider isn’t always easy, but we’re here to help. Make finding the perfect TV provider seamless and stress-free. Visit our TV service and streaming page and enter your address. We’ll connect you to the best cable TV providers in your area today.

Get Connected

Enter the address where you'd like your Internet service.

Find My Provider


Enter your address to get started