Cord-Cutting 101: TV Antenna Types

Hey, new cord-cutters! Here are the three basic types of TV antennas you need to care about.

From basic to advanced, the three antenna types are monopole, dipole, and yagi. Examining them gives us a glimpse at the evolution of cord-cutting equipment as we know it today. It also highlights how much more advanced today’s antennas are compared to those of yesteryear. With that in mind, let’s examine the three basic antenna types.

1. Monopole TV Antenna

“Mono” means alone, single, or one, and a pole is… a pole. So, the word “monopole” means one pole, or a single TV antenna element. These antennas are omnidirectional, which means they get signal from all directions surrounding the tip. Back in the day, monopole antennas received signal for small radios and TV sets. Today, monopole antennas are mostly used for AM/FM radio, cellular signal boosters and CB radios. Some of Solid Signal’s more popular monopole antennas include this K40 Antennas CB antenna, AFHD-4, and weBoost 4G Omni Plus.

2. Dipole TV Antenna

A dipole antenna looks like two monopole antennas next to each other. You know, those old “rabbit ear” TV antennas we had to adjust for our parents. (Or on the TV in our rooms, if we were lucky enough to have one.) By their nature, a dipole antenna tends to work best when its two antennas are perpendicular to each other.

Today’s dipole antennas look a bit different than those old “rabbit ears” from our childhoods. These devices can be flat panel antennas, such as the HDBLADE series. Some dipole antennas, such as the Xtreme Signal HDB2X, feature advanced configurations such reflectors and “bowties,” aka “cat’s whiskers.” For a more detailed understanding of monopole and dipole antennas, check out Stuart Sweet’s blog on the topic. (Call it Cord-Cutting 102, so to speak.)

3. Yagi TV Antenna

Yagi antennas are the most recognized TV antenna. These devices are fairly large, shaped like an arrowhead, and feature metal spines that extend out from the main bar. These “spines” are a series of dipole antennas fixed to the yagi’s frame. Because of its complex design, the Yagi antenna provided superior reception to monopole and dipole antennas.

Modern versions of the Yagi – such as the Televes DATBOSS Mix and Xtreme Signal HD8200XL – are very popular with cord-cutters. As to the yagi’s rather unique name, Stuart Sweet has a blog post about that, too. One more thing about yagi antennas: Most people use the term to describe any antenna with multiple spines. That’s not true. Most of these antennas are “log periodic” antennas. Here’s a deeper look at the difference.

Time to Cut the Cord!

So, there’s the rundown of the three basic types of TV antennas. While these are still used today, what’s available is far more advanced than those older antennas. You don’t need to be a TV antenna expert to cut the cord. Just call the people who’ve been providing your cord cutting 101 education. That’s us here at Solid Signal, and you can reach us at 877.312.4547. You can also fill out the form below and send it to us.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.