Onyx and MagniLink Zip video magnifiers side-by-side on a table
Guide

Choosing the Appropriate Video Magnifier

You can use these questions, tips, and comparison chart to guide you in selecting a video magnifier (CCTV).

Video magnifiers (also called CCTVs- Closed Circuit Televisions) can be helpful for many students with visual impairments.  The variety of video magnifiers can be overwhelming.  This article seeks to help teachers and parents think through the factors in selecting the optimal video magnifier for their student.  Under each question, there are examples to try to guide the reader.  Readers can jump to the sections that pertain to them without reading the whole article. 

Bear in mind that any brand names that are mentioned are used as examples, not to endorse or review the products.  Links for those products are included in the comparison table at the bottom of the article.  Please note that this article does not address handheld video magnifiers, only those with tablet-sized screens or larger.

General Tips:

How portable does the device need to be?

What type of access does the student need?

Categories include:

Near Only

Near and Distance

Near and OCR

Near, Distance, and OCR

Extra Notes about OCR Devices:

Is it preferable that the device also have additional tablet functions?

Is it preferable that the device can be attached to a laptop or paired with a tablet instead of needing a separate screen?

What external camera connection is best for your student?

Is a touchscreen device preferable?

Does the student need fewer buttons or less complicated controls?

Are there special considerations, such as workspace size or student positioning, that may influence which device you choose?

Are there any motor concerns that limit use of an XY tray or manipulation of material?

What are the lighting conditions the device will be used in?

What is the student’s reading speed?

How much handwriting are you expecting your student to do under this device?

Do you need an external HDMI Connection to use the video magnifier screen for a tablet or computer?

What accessories do you need?

Common Video Magnifier Models

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of devices and that features of devices change frequently. This is just intended to give you a possible starting point for research.  To simplify the list, different models of the same device (Acrobat, Acrobat Ultra HD, etc.) are not listed separately unless there are differences in the features marked on the chart. 

Model

Manufacturer/Vendor

“Traditional” Screen in Front Design

Camera Arm Design

Near

Distance

OCR

Tablet-Based

Desktop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acrobat

Enhanced Vision

N

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Clearview C

VFO (Optelec)

Y

N

Y

N

N

N

ClearView C Speech

VFO (Optelec)

Y

N

Y

N

Y

N

DaVinci

Enhanced Vision

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

GoVision

HIMS

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Lifestyle HD

HIMS

Y

N

Y

N

N

N

MagniLink Vision (Customizable product with varying features)

LVI

 

 

Y

N

Y

Y

N

N

MagniLink Vision TTS

LVI

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

N

Merlin

Enhanced Vision

Y

N

Y

N

N

N

Merlin OCR

Enhanced Vision

Y

N

Y

N

Y

N

Onyx Deskset

VFO (Freedom Scientific)

N

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Onyx OCR

VFO (Freedom Scientific)

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Prodigi Desktop

Humanware

Y

N

Y

N

Y

N

Topaz

VFO (Freedom Scientific)

Y

N

Y

N

N

N

“Luggable”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acrobat Mini

Enhanced Vision

N

Y

Y

Y

N

N

MagniLink Zip 13”

LVI

Y

N

Y

Y

N

N

Mercury 12

TrySight

N/A

N/A

Y

Y

Y

Y

Connect 12/MATT Connect

Humanware/APH

N/A

N/A

Y

Y

Y

Y

Topaz PhD

VFO (Freedom Scientific)

Y

N

Y

N

N

N

Traveller HD

VFO (Optelec)

Unique design that doesn’t fit these categories

Y

N

N

N

VisioBook*

Baum*

Y

N

Y

Y

N

N

Camera Only

 

Connects to:

 

 

 

 

E-Bot

HIMS

iPad, Android Tablet, Computer

Y

Y

N

N/A

E-Bot ADV or PRO

HIMS

iPad, Android Tablet, Computer

Y

Y

Y

N/A

MagniLink S

LVI

Computer, Monitor (no OCR for Monitor only)

Y

Y

Y

N/A

Onyx Portable HD (requires OpenBook for OCR)

VFO (Freedom Scientific)

Computer, Monitor (no OCR for Monitor only)

Y

Y

Y

N/A

ReadIt Scholar HD

Manufacturer: VisionAid International

US Vendor: Irie AT

Computer

Y

Y

Y

N/A

Transformer HD

Enhanced Vision

iPad, Android Tablet, Computer, Monitor (no OCR for monitor only)

Y

Y

Y

N/A

*The VisioBook is produced by BAUM Retec AG.  The German parent company of BAUM USA is currently in bankruptcy, and the product is currently unavailable.  It is possible this product’s status may change in the future.

Collage of choosing appropriate video magnifier

By ljonesTVI

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