Cord-Cutting 101: TV Antenna Types

As a cord cutter, have you ever wondered how many types of TV antennas there are? At the cord-cutting 101 level, there are three basic types of TV antenna.

From basic to advanced, three types of TV antennas are the monopole, dipole, and yagi antenna. These antenna types give us a glimpse at the evolution of cord-cutting equipment as we know it today. It also highlights how much more advanced today’s TV antennas are compared to those of yesteryear. It’s good for every cord cutter to know as much about this movement as possible. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the three basic antenna types.

Monopole TV Antenna
“Mono” means alone, single, or one, and a pole is, well, a pole. So the word “monopole” means one pole or TV antenna element. These antennas are omnidirectional, which means the capture signal from all directions surrounding the antenna’s tip. Back in the day, monopole antennas typically were used to receive signal for small radios and TV sets. Today, monopole antennas are used mostly for AM/FM radio, cellular signal boosters and CB radios. Some of Solid Signal’s more popular monopole antennas include the CBRHGA1000, the AFHD-4, and the SureCall CM 100-L.

Dipole TV Antenna
A dipole antenna may look like two monopole antennas next to each other, but it’s actually a pretty complex little thing. When some people think of a dipole antenna, they think of “rabbit ears.” Well, that’s how they used to look during the days when we had to adjust these antennas for our parents.  By their nature, dipole antennas tend to work best when its two antennas are perpendicular to each other.

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

Yagi TV Antenna
Yagi antennas are the most-recognized TV antenna. These devices are fairly large, shaped like an arrowhead, and feature several metal spines that extend out form the main bar. These “spines” actually 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 DAT790 Mix and Xtreme Signal HD8200XL – remain very popular among today’s cord cutters. As to yagi’s rather unique name, that’s a rather interesting story about the yagi TV antenna from my colleague, Stuart Sweet. (Consider this addition cord-cutting 102 education.) One more thing: Most people use the term “Yagi” to mean any antenna with multiple spines, while most of them are actually “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 all three remain in use today, what’s available is far more advanced than the antennas of yesteryear. Are you ready to cut the cord? If so, you don’t have to be a TV antenna expert to enjoy free HDTV. All you have to do is call the people who’ve been providing your cord cutting 101 education. That’s us here at Solid Signal! Just pick up the phone then dial 877.312.4547. Our team of consumer electronics industry experts are ready to help you start your cord cutting journey!

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.