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  • A people meter is an audience measurement tool used to measure the viewing habits of TV and cable audiences. The People Meter is a 'box', about the size of a paperback book. The box is hooked up to each television set and is accompanied by a remote control unit. Each family member in a sample household is assigned a personal 'viewing button'. It identifies each household member's age and sex. If the TV is turned on and the viewer doesn't identify themselves, the meter flashes to remind them. Additional buttons on the People Meter enable guests to participate in the sample by recording their age, sex and viewing status into the system. The device, known as a 'frequency-based meter', was invented by a British company called Audits of Great Britain. The successor company to AGB is TNS, which is active in 34 countries around the globe. Originally, these meters identified the frequency of the channels - VHF or UHF - watched on the viewer's TV set. This system became obsolete when Direct to Home satellite dish became popular and viewers started to get their own satellite decoders. In addition, this system doesn't measure digital broadcasts.

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