man using CCTV to sign check

Video Magnifiers (CCTVS) 

As we age, so do our eyes. Diseases like macular degeneration, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and cataracts progress and make reading difficult or even impossible. Then, of course, many of us were born with low-vision.

Now, because of the ability to scan text, magnify it, and convert it into speech or Braille output, everyone can be a reader. However, we also need to be able to read price tags, menus, cards, books, and magazines, and that requires an effective visual aid.

If handheld magnifiers don't work for you and you've quickly exhausted the very limited large print market, it's time to pull out the heavy artillery—video magnifiers, also known as closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs). These systems use a handheld video camera to project a magnified image onto a video or computer monitor, or TV screen. Some cameras are mounted while others are portable and small enough to carry in a pocket. All video magnifiers offer the option of viewing black letters on a white background or the reverse. You can also control the contrast and brightness. Now, too, many people find that using the camera of a smart phone or tablet such as an iPad will let them magnify text sufficiently for reading.


Apps for Magnification

There are also apps that function as magnifying glasses:

Magnifying glass with Light for iOS 

Magnificent Magnifier HD  for Android

For a listing of other magnification apps for iPhones, click here.


Videos About CCTVs

Two short videos about video magnifiers produced by American Foundation for the Blind can be found here. Note: they must be downloaded to view and are in Windows Media format:

Video Magnifiers, Part 1: Desktop and Flex Arm Camera Models

Video Magnifiers, Part 2: Head Mounted Displays and Portable Models


The number of products on the market is quite extensive.  Rather than reproduce what's already been created by the American Foundation for the Blind, please click here for a table of products, descriptions and a link to the product on the web. 

Note from Infinitec's editor: With any video-magnifier, it's best to have an in-home demonstration of several models from more than one company before deciding which one is right for you. Sales representatives are happy to show them off to you. Like any other type of assistive technology device, needs and uses are unique to every single user.

Commercial Resources

Beyond Sight
Littleton, CO
Large selection of video magnifiers

Enhanced Vision
Huntington Beach, CA
Desktop and portable video-magnifiers

Freedom Scientific
Source for portable video magnifiers

Freedom Vision 
Mountain View, CA
Desktop and portable video-magnifiers

Desktop and portable magnifiers, Braille devices, note-takers, scanners, and software

Colorado Springs, CO
Video-magnifiers and other devices and aids for low-vision

Vista, CA

Carries a wide variety of electronic solutions for vision loss

Vision Technology, Inc. 
St. Louis, MO
Desktop video-magnifiers


Magnification Software

For those wishing to magnify the computer screen, there are options.  First try the built-in features fo the operating systems.  See our section on Accessibility to learn more.  If you need magnification software, see our Computer section. 

Note: Infinitec Inc. does not endorse or recommend these products and has no liability for the results of their use. Infinitec Inc. has received no consideration of any type for featuring any product on this Web site. The information offered herein is a summary; it is not comprehensive and should be carefully evaluated by consumers with the assistance of qualified professionals. The intention of Infinitec Inc. is to offer consumers a brief overview of various assistive technology devices and their applications.