Choosing a CCTV (closed Circuit Television System)

There are several varieties of CCTV's systems available for purchase. Typically these systems are divided into two categories Portable CCTV and Desktop CCTV systems. A desktop CCTV system is basically as stationary station thus your not moving it around or taking it with you anywhere. As for a portable CCTV's well that definition seems to change but basically your suppose to be able to take it from one place to the next. Portable CCTV systems vary in weight from 2 lbs to 25 pounds, as well as battery operated, USB powered,or AC operated. These Portable CCTV's also vary in terms of options such as near magnification, distance magnification, near and distance magnification, laptop accessible, as well as computer based image capturing. Since Portable CCTV systems seem to be the buyers desire lets focus on what they actually do in comparison to what they say they do, as well as their limitation based on physical design.

So what things do you need to consider before you purchase a CCTV?

  1. Since Magnification or Enlarging the Text is a given for reading, lets think about exactly your planning to read?
    • Worksheets
    • Books
    • Maps
    • Pictures
    • The Board
    • Price tags
    • Labels or Prescriptions

  • With the introduction of the portable CCTV systems the designers seemed to have over looked the need to read an actual book with a spine. You'll notice that in many of the product pictures these systems are all featured enlarging a single sheet of paper and not an actually book. Even the smaller hand held CCTV systems do not work well while reading book with a spine due to the location of the camera with a few exceptions.

  1. Looking for a CCTV that does near and distance magnification?
    • Is the person an independent or proficient computer user?
    • Do you want be able to freeze fame?
    • Do you want to be able to capture and image and save it as a jpeg?
    • What software is the CCTV compatible with? (windows, Zoomtext, iZoom)
    • Do you want to split the screen?
    • How flexible is the arm and why is the rotation in degrees?
    • Does the camera mount impact where or how materials must be placed?
    • Does it have auto zoom or auto focus?
    • Are functions on the keyboard, camera, or both?
    • How does rotating the camera affect the image viewed on the screen? (mirror image, reverse image, upside down image)

  1. Is it really portable?
    • How much does it weigh?
    • Does it need to be connected a laptop?
    • Does it need to be connected to and outlet via AC?
    • How much space do you need to use it?
    • How long does the battery last?
    • How long does it take to set up before you can use it?

  1. Is the CCTV really the most functional tool?
    • What level of magnification does the user need? (magnification verse field of view)
    • Page distortion, flicking, clarity, and movement required for use.
    • Whats the purpose for the purchase such as what task or tasks will it be used for?
    • Does the user need to change the foreground or background colors?
    • Does the level of magnification make the user a fluent reader in comparison to the sighted peers?
    • Why a CCTV as opposed to a hand held it worth the cost difference?
    • Writing: what are you writing, a quick note or a prolonged writing activity?

Lets review a few popular systems for pro's and con's. (In progress)

The Amigo must be placed directly on the page. Think about how that will work if you trying to read a book with a spine.

The Flipper Panel. Again this must be placed directly on the page. This product has wheels and does not all you to read a book with a spine. Your could purchase the Flipper stand to read books but that doesn't really make it a portable system now does it.

The Max, this product is featured with wheel base as well but this in a separate feature. The Max function much like the mouse on your computer. It will allow your to get into the binding of a book.

Look closely how the arm is mounted. How will you move a book left/right or up/down. This design doesn't work.