Directional Vs. Multidirectional Antenna

By Gerry Poulos

Antenna selection often is a compromise between need and convenience.
i antennas image by Vita Vanaga from

The process of setting up home entertainment equipment often forces consumers to choose between different types of hardware. One of these choices is selecting between directional and multidirectional antennas. Both have advantages and disadvantages.


Directional antennas provide the strongest signal reception of all home-use antennas by pointing directly at television transmitters and receiving signals from distant stations. As a result, these antennas are inadequate receivers of multiple stations in multiple directions. Directional antennas are best for receiving stations where signals are weak. They can be fitted with a rotator to change their aim.


Multidirectional antennas, also called omnidirectional antennas, can receive signals from all directions. However, as these antennas do not focus on a specific transmitter, the signal strength tends to be significantly less than with directional antennas. These antennas are a good choice where multiple TV transmitters are relatively close and signals are strong.


Smart antennas function as a hybrid between directional and multidirectional antennas. They can receive signals from all directions. However, they automatically configure internal elements to function more like directional antennas. While not as efficient as directional antennas, they are more efficient receivers of weaker signals than multidirectional antennas.