NTL Digital reception


Prominent Member
Why is it that the picture quality of BBC1/2, ITV1, CH4/5 is so poor when viewed through the TV's analogue tuner. Surely as the signal is being transmitted down a cable it should be nearly as good as the digital signal.

In fact I can't even watch CH4 or 5 as the picture is almost completely obliterated.

Chris Muriel

Distinguished Member
If the picture via SCART from the NTL box is OK, you have either a faulty or incorrectly-tuned modulator in the STB (SetTop Box).
Try to confirm that :
1) The NTL box is tuned to an interference-free channel on the TV.

2) You should be able to tune either the modulator to the TV or vice versa.

PS: It used to be common for people to blindly tune all add-ons, STBs , VCRs etc. to channel 36. If you do this, you'll get interference problems as all boxes will be outputting via their modulators on the same frequency.
Modulators are, in effect, mini-transmitters .

Chris Muriel, Manchester.


Prominent Member
Just to make sure that this is clear.

It is not the channels 101 - 105 on the STB that I have the problem with, it is watching the analogue channels for BBC1, 2 etc. thru the STB. These channels are analogue and passed thru the STB.


Squirrel God

There seem to be a few posts about NTL analogue reception lately. Most subscribers are complaining of ghosting. If this is your problem and it's not something different (your problem does sound worse than described by others, I must say), this would most likely mean that it's not your box but the actual signal that's being sent. Might be worth doing a search to find the other posts...

Chris Muriel

Distinguished Member
Sorry I misinterpreted your original post.

If the pictures are perfect when the TV aerial is plugged directly into the TV & distorted when passed through the STB, I have a possible explanation.
These passthroughs often have a (fairly poor) amplifier within them. It could be adding too much gain , in which case you would need to fit an in-line attenuator.
I wonder if looping through your VCR's antenna passhtrough also causes distortion ?
If so, this would tend to confirm that you have too much signal !
However, not all pass-throughs do have gain and some have a
"local/distant" setting or switch to insert a built in attenuator if needed.
Do you have a local friend/neighbour whose NTL box you could borrow to see if it is the box itself causing the fault ?

Hope this helps.

Chris Muriel, Manchester.


Prominent Member
Thanks for the responses.

I have done a bit more digging and found that I had an attenuator already attached to the STB. I have connected the NTL "aerial" straight into the TV without the STB inline and get the same results;

BBC1 ok
BBC2 ok
ITV1 a bit snowy
CH4 very snowing and unwatchable
CH5 no picture at all.


Standard Member
We used to get that with our first NTL installation. I can't remember if we ever solved it or not. But the subsequent 2 installations (and two new stb's) haven't had that problem.

At the time I seem to remember thinking it was down to too strong a signal, similar troubles with my DTTV stb were down to the stb's output being on a frequency too close to the channels, so a quick swap fixed it.
Could you not completely remove the digibox from RF and just use scart cables?


Prominent Member
I watvh the digital channels thru the scart and distribute the RF around my house to feed other TV's.

It is also useful to be able to watch BBC1/2 etc whilst recording something on SKY1, Sky Premier etc.

I guess I will have to put up with the poor reception. NTL claim it is due to the number of subscribers in my area that are weakening the signal.

Are you sure that the TV is detecting the cable analogue signals and not analogue terrestrial signals? - the cable may be acting as an aerial itself.In S Wales NTL uses the odd numbered channels from 21-33 to transmit it's analogue signals but also uses channel 20 for S4C and 18 for HTV West.(These two latter channels cannot always be detected by TV tuners).
I suggest you retune the TV manually and not - if you relied on autotune - the autotune function.

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