It was perfect, utterly perfect, and Neil felt at once inspired and horrified by the sight of it. How could he possibly play here? He closed his eyes and breathed in, breathed out, imagining the way bodies sounded as they crashed into each other on the court, the way the announcer’s voice would only come through in muffled, scattered bursts, the roar of sixty-five thousand people reacting to a goal. He knew he didn’t deserve this, knew beyond a doubt he wasn’t good enough to play on this court, but he wanted and needed it so badly he ached all over. 

… He’d made the right decision. The risks didn’t matter; the consequences would be worth it. He had to be here. He had to play on this court at least once. He had to know if the crowd screamed loud enough to blow the roof off. He had to smell the sweat and overpriced stadium food. He needed to hear the buzzer sound as a ball slammed inside the white goal lines and lit the walls up red. 

“Oh,” Nicky said … “No wonder he chose you.”

 - The Foxhole Court [Nora Sakavic]

Information on how your viewership may or may not affect ratings

Some people have been wondering whether tuning into the new episodes of Steven Universe actually affects ratings. Well, I thought this was an interesting question, so I actually spent some time researching it (tl;dr below).

First, let’s briefly talk about Nielsen ratings, which is a method of collecting viewership data. For the longest time, TV show ratings have been determined by choosing a sample of families who report diary information on their viewership for a certain amount of time. About a decade ago, they switched to having Nielsen families’ TV viewership monitored using electronic devices called “Set Meters” instead. 

However, DVR and digital adapters in cable boxes may provide a new means for providers to gather information on their users. From here:

“Your cable TV service company knows:

  • what program on what channel you’re watching if their system uses switched digital video (SDV), which is a bandwidth conservation technique - SDV based cable TV systems don’t broadcast all channels all the time; the Set-Top Boxes ask the “head end” to send the requested channel when the user “tunes” or “switches” to it. Of course, they have to match the time & channel to the program schedule information (which any TiVo or other DVR user can tell you aren’t perfectly accurate).
  • which programs you order through their Video on Demand (VOD) (“pay per view”) service.
  • what programs you told their DVR to record for you, and when you watch those programs.”

Other words for a “set-top box” are digital converter box, cable box or digital receiver. Remember how in the last few years a lot of cable providers required people to get digital adapters? This is why: Those adapters allow them to use SDV (switched digital video) technology. It saves them money for everyone to use SDV, because normally the cable provider would send all channels to the user at all times, even the ones not being viewed. It was then up to the viewer to decide what they wanted to view in this barrage of received information. By allowing the two-way communication of data, what can be done is the user’s cable box will send to the provider which channel they would like to watch, and the cable provider can send the data for just that channel in response. This requires a lot less data to be sent, so it’s cheaper, and it allows cable providers to offer HD channels. Here is a link with more information on how SDV works. 

They definitely collect aggregate data on their users. From the last link, we know they monitor channel viewership. This link describes how some providers use their data for targeted ads. So, they are able to get a measurement of TV show viewership. Whether this data or Nielsen ratings are the ones that are used for decisions, I don’t know. It’s possible your viewership won’t matter in the way you think it will - that maybe it will just be used for advertisements. Or possibly it will help the SU crew. I can’t tell you for sure. All I can tell you is if you have DVR or a cable box with SDV (you definitely do if you use Time Warner Cable, probably if with Optimum and Comcast, you probably do if you have HD channels), your viewership is counted.

Long story short (tl;dr):

  • If you have a cable box with a digital adapter or DVR, your viewership is counted.
  • Viewing it on demand (if it’s available) is also counted.
  • If you don’t have a cable box with a digital adapter or DVR, your viewership definitely doesn’t matter.
  • Obviously if you’re part of a Nielsen family, your viewership matters.
  • If you change the channel to Cartoon Network before Steven Universe comes on and switch away before the next program starts, it’s possible it will be recorded as you watching the previous program but not Steven Universe.
  • I can’t tell you for certain whether this data or Nielsen ratings are used when it comes to canceling, funding, or giving more air time to Cartoon Network cartoons. All I can tell you is if your viewership is counted.

Diy ir blaster

I built one of these over the break while I was at my girlfriend’s parent’s house. Her dad has a Google tv and their new cable box wouldn’t work with its type of channel switching. He needed an ir blaster to change the channel through the Google tv. We went to best buy and thought that they might have a set for Tivo but alas they did not.  I found this how to with a quick search, went to RadioShack, bought the few required parts, and built it. After I changed the settings in the Google tv it worked without a hitch.

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