Dipole antennas or rabbit ears TV antennas are an old design but their effectiveness still reigns true. Whilst picking up a good, strong signal for your TV can sometimes be referred to a black art, it is generally accepted that rabbit ears antennas are perfectly capable of being sufficient for the general home user in urban areas where the signal is usually strong. Of course, in remote areas where the tv signal is weak you won’t get away with a simple rabbit ear solution, but might be forced to go for a more powerful and large, outdoor hd antenna.
Depending on your application, larger and higher gain antennas are available, but indoor ones are more discrete and still able to provide decent signal strength. Some antennas are looped which, in terms of UHF signal strength can be better. Differing loops and shapes affects the electrical properties and therefore the signal quality in certain positions.
In most cases the rabbit ear antenna needs to be placed away from any electrical item which causes interference. For example, computers, microwaves and strangely enough TV sets, DVD players and VCRs all cause interference with rabbit ear antennas. For the best results you can extend the co-axial wire and set the antenna up away from any interfering devices.
Depending on the distance between the TV set and the broadcast tower, it can be beneficial, if it is near, to use an attenuator and remove any amplifiers. Although rabbit ear antennas will not normally have these, it is worth noting in case of poor signal whilst being close to the tower. A high quality indoor antenna is far more beneficial than buying an expensive and large outdoor antenna which would protrude above the roofline. As the differing frequencies and signal strength are affected by the weather and direction of the antenna, by making sure the position is correct.
Other than rabbit ear antennas, the other indoor antennas such as the quarter wave or uni-pole are less common and not as effective as rabbit ears. The earth is used as a ground for the plane, but as the earth is not a good conductor of electricity it can worsen the signal strength. Where a ground is not available, such as an antenna in a vehicle, the metallic surface can be used. This type of antenna is not as effective as the typical rabbit ear type.
Not only are there packaging advantages but the performance of a dipole, or rabbit ear antenna over a whip antenna (a quarter-wave monopole), but the total radiated power and resistance to radiation are double the amount from a rabbit ear one. Their efficiency and being usually half the size of a whip antenna makes the rabbit ear type far more appealing and usually cheaper to purchase.
In summary, the rabbit ear antenna is far better, cheaper and easier to use than a quarter-wave or whip antenna. They are generally small in size and whilst they can be bought with a small wire, an extension to keep the aerial away from other electrical devices is recommended to keep interference to a minimum. To gain the full effectiveness of a dipole antenna, it is beneficial to aim towards the broadcast station and be as high up off the ground as possible.