Keeping up with the amenity arms race in the apartment industry is no easy task. But a new survey reveals apartment residents are putting even more importance on the latest connectivity options when renting today.

According to a survey of 500 residents and 200 apartment operators conducted by DISH Business, 81% of property owners and managers indicated that technology services were important in keeping residents satisfied, while 67% agreed that they could do more to provide the highest level of technology to their residents.

But how residents consume video has changed quickly and dramatically: While 56% still have cable TV, 84% now subscribe to an online streaming service. This preference has made reliable, fast internet not a luxury, but an essential must-have.

As entertainment delivery options have changed, so have the devices on which residents are watching: 51% of residents indicated they watch TV shows and movies on their laptops and computers, the highest percentage for any device. While 48% still watch on smart TVs, 47% also watch on their phones.

The bottom line is that while apartment operators arebut an essential must-havebut an essential must-have still putting an emphasis on traditional cable TV amenities, residents are quickly cutting the cord and using a single, high-speed internet connection to watch TV.

“These results indicate that the concept of having a cable-ready apartment is becoming dated, in terms of what residents want,” says Josh Rowe, director of product and business development at Englewood, Colo.-based DISH Business. “For the last 20 years, the model for how apartment residents receive telecommunication services has remained static. But residents’ preferences have not.”

He noted operators are looking for strategies to give residents what they want, while keeping buildings up to date.

“There’s a little bit of a gap between what operators deem as important and what renters put a priority on,” Rowe says. “But at the same time, operators realize technology is a really important area to execute well in. They recognize there’s work to be done.”

Residents and operators aligned more closely on apartment communities that offer internet, TV, and data services directly: 76% of residents and 81% of operators classified having such an option as very or extremely important. “It’s much simpler when it’s managed by the complex, especially when a good package deal is offered,” one resident commented. “It saves the time of installing and dealing with the coordination.”

Residents said they waited 2.6 days, on average, for utilities to be set up once they moved in. For communities where internet is provided by the apartment operator, those services are available instantly on move-in day.

To learn more about how resident and operator priorities compare, visit