1380 Spahn Avenue, York, Pa





Here at the ForSight Vision in York, PA, we offer sales and support of Closed Circuit TVs (CCTVs) in our community.  We evaluate and choose products which provide the most overall benefit to our customers at the least possible cost. 


What is a CCTV?

A CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) is a device that enables people with low vision to read standard printed material when traditional magnifiers are no longer effective.  A CCTV can be used for reading mail, the newspaper, medication bottles, and even writing checks.   Also called video magnifiers, CCTVs can magnify print up to about 50 times its original size.   A CCTV consists of a camera and some type of viewing screen.  Most have controls that allow the user to vary the level of magnification and select from several viewing modes such as color, black & white, and yellow letters on a blue background.  CCTVs can be stand-alone, computer compatible, portable or pocket-sized.  The cost of a CCTV can range from $300 to $3,500 depending on the type and size of the screen, as well as the features you require.  For those who are unable to afford a CCTV, ForSight Vision often has used and demo equipment for sale at a reduced cost.  There is also a state agency called the Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services which may be able to help you acquire a CCTV. 


Stand-Alone CCTVs

A stand-alone CCTV is a combination of a base unit and a monitor.  The base unit includes a camera unit and an X-Y table.  The camera photographs reading materials that are placed under it on the movable X-Y table.  The X-Y table slides front to back and left to right moving the desired reading material into the camera’s view.  The image is then magnified and displayed on the monitor.  The monitor, usually on top of the base unit can be a CRT (TV) Monitor, LCD, or TFT flat panel.  Monitor sizes typically range from 14” to 22” diagonally.  Stand alone CCTVs can be quite large and are meant to be stationary.  They are used on a desktop or table in the home or office and are the easiest type of CCTV to learn to use.  The cost of a stand-alone CCTV is usually between $1,500 and $3,000.  See an example (the OPTELEC CLEARVIEW +) for more detail>>...


Computer Compatible CCTVs

A computer compatible CCTV is a device that integrates with your desktop or laptop PC.  These typically consist of a base unit only and use the computer’s monitor to display images.  This setup offers several advantages:  First, It is a space saver because there is no need for two monitors on the same desk.  Second, these machines allow you to perform such functions as A/B switching between computer image and CCTV image on the same screen as well as split screen and picture in picture which display a combination of the computer image and the CCTV image at the same time.  Since they have more features than a standard CCTV they may be a bit confusing for some users.  They are used by students or individuals who work in an office environment.  Computer compatible CCTVs are generally more expensive with a price tag of over $3,000. 


Portable CCTVs

A portable CCTV is designed for people who need to be able to read or write in many different locations such as school, the library, the front porch, in church, or at a meeting.  Portable CCTVs are usually an all-in-one design.  The size of the monitor is between 6” and 15”.  Most can be run on battery power with a typical battery life of about two to four hours.  Some can be powered by a laptop battery or a car adaptor.  Rather than an X-Y table, proper operation of these units is achieved by moving the entire unit across the reading material.  Therefore users who have impaired use of their hands may find portable CCTVs to be cumbersome to use.  Some portable CCTVs offer the capability of distance viewing.  Pricing for portable CCTVs vary greatly due to the many different types and features. 


Pocket Sized CCTVs

Pocket sized CCTVs have become very popular recently both because of their extremely compact size and because they resemble PDAs that many sighted people carry with them.  While they are not recommended for lengthy reading tasks, they can be very useful for reading a restaurant menu or a price tag at the grocery store.  The size of the screen on a pocket sized CCTV is usually around 4” to 5”.  Their selling price is in the $700 to $800 dollar range.  Most run on re-chargeable batteries with a battery life of 2-4 hours.  Some of them connect to a standard Television set for more comfortable reading on a larger screen when you are not traveling.  People who have impaired fine motor skills may have difficulty manipulating the small and delicate controls of a pocket sized CCTV. See a sample (COMPACT +) pocket-sized video magnifier>>...


What about Service

CCTVs are generally extremely reliable and are capable of providing years of reading enjoyment.  Most problems that occur with a CCTV are the result of operator error, or the system simply comes unplugged from the wall.  CCTVs usually have a two to three year manufacturer’s warranty.  Should your CCTV need repair and you purchased it through ForSight Vision, there are several benefits to you.  Many repairs can be done by ForSight staff in the home.  If your unit needs to be sent out for repair ForSight Vision will ship the defective component for you.  We can even loan you a CCTV to use while yours is being repaired.  And we do all of this at no charge to ForSight Customers. 


How to purchase a CCTV

When considering the purchase of a CCTV it is important to explore as many options as possible.  The most important question to ask yourself is “What do I want to use the CCTV to accomplish?”  For example, if your visual impairment prevents you from seeing color or you don’t plan to look at photographs, you may want to check and see if a black & white CCTV is available in the style you like as they tend to be less expensive.  Another situation may be that you are a student and need to be able to read in multiple locations.  In this case you will want to seek a portable unit so that it is easily transported from the classroom to the library, and home again. 


Make sure that when you are choosing a CCTV, you bring something with you that is a good representation of the material you will be reading.  For instance, the pages of a magazine or catalog may cause more glare on some models than others; and the person who is demonstrating the CCTV may not have these types of materials to look at. 


If your vision fluctuates from day to day or depending on the time of day, try to evaluate CCTVs on a day and time which is most representative of your typical visual acuity.  If you use reading glasses, don’t forget to bring them with you.  You may or may not need them while using a CCTV.  


One final thing to consider when purchasing a CCTV is the presence of a family member or friend.  While it is important to discuss a decision like this with a loved one, remember that this person has normal vision and their perception will be different from yours.  Family and friends are often very encouraging to the point that they may inadvertently talk you into something that may not be right for you.  You may want to have them wait in another room while you are evaluating the CCTVs and invite them back in when you have narrowed your choices. 


How Can ForSight Vision Help?

ForSight Vision offers a wide variety of CCTV products from reputable manufacturers.  We have over 10 years of experience in CCTV sales and support.  Please contact us to schedule an appointment so that we can find a CCTV that is right for you. 



ForSight Vision
Telephone: 717-848-1690
Toll Free: 800-255-6578
Fax: 717-845-3889

Adams County
Telephone: 800-255-6578

Hours of Operations

Office: M-F 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Store: M-F 9:00 am - 4:00 pm


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