The rabbit ear antenna had those two long poles for the VHF frequencies since those frequencies have pretty long wavelengths. The new flat antennas like mohu leaf and winegard don't have long wires in them. However they work extremely well based on personal experience.

I believe they are using fractal antenna design which I don't really understand, but how does the fractal design get around wavelength problem?

(source: hdtvexpert.com)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Closing until a picture or diagram is provided. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Sep 11 '15 at 13:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its always easier to explain how an antenna transmits then make the leap of faith to believe it will receive. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Sep 11 '15 at 14:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another question is why these fancy new antennas all started coming out at around the same time as the DTV transition, leading people to believe that rabbit ears aren't good enough anymore. \$\endgroup\$ – Random832 Sep 11 '15 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ They do look nicer and take up less space than rabbit ears \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Sep 11 '15 at 15:35

My guess is that the antenna is picking up the harmonics of the VHF, not the fundamental frequency.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't that still be less efficient than the primary/fundamental signal antennas? Though, if that's the case, couldn't you also develop an antenna to also grab the first few harmonics, to help boost the fundamental (with appropriate frequency mixing and such)? \$\endgroup\$ – Jarrod Christman Sep 17 '15 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ This does not make sense. A broadcast transmitter which produced sufficient levels of harmonics to be usefully received would be illegal to operate. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Reid Sep 17 '15 at 23:48

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