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Blizzard IRiS R2 and IRiS IP3 Video Panels

Skip Pfeiffer • June 2018Product Spotlight • June 4, 2018

Wisconsin-based lighting product company Blizzard Lighting has introduced two new video panels to their ever-expanding product line of lighting, video, and accessory products — and frankly, if you have a few minutes to enjoy the light-hearted nature of a company producing serious products for the Pro, DJ, Theatre, and Worship markets, a visit to their website is highly recommended. This, however, is not surprising; people who make their lives in the bitter cold often have outstanding senses of humor.

Rear view of the IRiS R2 panel, designed for indoor use with IP40/IP21 (front/rear) ratings.

The two new video panel products introduced recently by Blizzard are from the IRiS series of LED video products: the IRiS R2 (top) and IRiS IP3 (below). This is expanding on the current IRiS R3 LED video panel product line by adding a higher pixel pitch panel and an indoor/outdoor IP65 video panel with very decent output.

A display made from IRiS IP3 panels, set up outdoors.

‡‡         Indoor and Outdoor Use

These two new products are separated into an indoor-use product, the IRiS R2, and an indoor/outdoor use product, the IRiS IP3. Both products are completely suitable for mobile production, but the difference is in pixel pitch, IP rating, and input/output connections.

Blizzard’s IP3 panel is designed to be tough and weather-resistant. The panel fronts are rated IP65 (dust tight and protected against a constant stream of water), so they can take the rain on that forward facing truss or down in front of the deck. The rear of the panels rate IP54 (dust and splash-protected), and can withstand the beating of an indoor or outdoor show with varying levels of atmospheric goo. The IRiS IP3 can handle being in a protected environment or an unprotected, unreliable environment and perform like you expect.

Each panel features four LED modules and tool-free/magnetic maintenance features. Pictured here: the IRiS IP3.

Both IP3 and R2 panel products feature angle connections that allow the user to quickly configure curves and bends from 10° concave to 5° convex. The quick interconnect system is designed to give one person the ability to configure these panels for those in-and-up-quick gigs that rental and production companies do on a daily basis.

IRiS R2 is made for indoor gigs or weather-protected mobile setups with less risk of liquids interacting with your equipment. Panel fronts on IRiS R2 are IP40 (protected against tools, wires, and anything 2.5mm or more) and panel rears are IP21 (generally solid bodies 50mm or more, like being bumped by a body part). Both panels are strong and lightweight: R2 is around 20 pounds (19.36 lbs./8.8 kg) and IP3 is just under 21 pounds (20.46 pounds/9.3 kg), both due to a lightweight CNC and cast aluminum frame. Both panels are ideal for mobile production and rental company usage.

A feature that I appreciated in both panels related to module maintenance, including their tool-free and magnetic design that incorporates four LED modules per panel. R2 and IP3’s power module is similarly simple, swappable by unsnapping four clips and swapping out the module. Signal control for both is via the Novastar TB6 or VX4S LED display controllers (Armor series), and each R2 panel comes with a three-foot etherCON compatible interconnect for signal and a three-foot powerCON TRUE1 compatible interconnect for power. IP3’s signal and power connections are ingress protected and also come with three-foot interconnect cables — IP65-rated Seetronic PowerCon in and out on power connections, and IP54 rated Seetronic EtherCon in and out for data.

Power consumption rates for these panels is also an easily digestible number — per meter of the IP3 panels, you’re going to consume approximately 540W. On the R2 product, per meter power consumption is 510W.

Rear view of the IRiS IP3 panel, designed for outdoor use with IP65/IP54 (front/rear) ratings.

‡‡         Other Key Differences

Blizzard’s two LED video panels here differ in brightness simply due to their intended applications. The IP3 model panel is meant for a combination of indoor and outdoor locations, so its brightness comes in at 4500 nits (4500 candelas per square meter which, for our lighting friends, is 418.06 lumens per square foot). IP3 also has a flicker-free 3840 Hz refresh rate and a contrast ratio of 4000:1, on a 3.9mm pixel pitch. In general, this is a light cannon of a panel that can compare and compete with other products in its range and price class, whether it’s at an indoor event or on an outdoor stage.

The IRiS IP3 has a 140° horizontal by 120° vertical viewing angle, plenty for a wide variety of applications. Tie that to the 3.9mm pixel pitch, and you’re covered for anywhere from 24 feet to the rear of the arena in the extreme cases. Each IP3 panel is 128×128 pixels (16,384 black faced SMD 1921 LEDs per square meter), with panel dimensions of 500mm high by 500mm wide by 100mm deep. You can plan on rigging 20 of these IP3 panels high.

The IRiS R2, designed for indoor use, has a higher resolution of 168×168 pixels (28,224 black-faced SMD 2020 pixels per square meter) at 1200 nits (1200 cd/m2, or 111.48 lumens per square foot) and a 2.9mm pixel pitch. R2 matches the IP3’s refresh rate (3840 Hz), has a higher contrast ratio (7000:1). As with IP3 panels, users can rig R2 panels up to 20 panels high.

With these panels, you’re looking at two products from Blizzard Lighting that fit the needs of the wide array of applications that we are constantly seeing in this industry, from wall configurations to artistic configurations of single panel usage and every array in between. I highly recommend adding the IRiS series products to your trade show checklist and manufacturer rep visits.

An indoor display featuring IRiS R2 panels.

At a Glance

Rugged and Smooth

While many of the specs for Blizzard’s IRiS IP3 display panels match those for Blizzard’s IRiS R2 units, including size, curvability, flicker-free (3840 Hz) refresh rate and maintenance-friendly features, differences in luminous intensity, resolution and IP protection make the IP3 the better choice for outdoor use. If a higher resolution, contrast ratio and closer indoor viewing is more of a priority, however, the R2 panel is the better choice.

Higher IP ratings and luminous output make the IRiS IP3 suited for outdoor use.


Blizzard IRiS IP3:

  • Pixel Pitch: 3.9mm
  • LED Type: SMD 1921
  • Output: 4500 Nits
  • Native Resolution: 128×128/16,384 pixels
  • Viewing Angle (H/V): 140°/120°
  • Weight: 20.46 lbs.
  • Max. Power: 540W
  • IP Rating: IP65/IP54 (Front/Rear)

Blizzard IRiS R2:

  • Pixel Pitch: 2.97mm
  • LED Type: SMD 2020
  • Output: 1200 Nits
  • Native Resolution: 168×168/28,224 pixels
  • Viewing Angle (H/V): 150°/140°
  • Weight: 19.36 lbs.
  • Max. Power: 510W
  • IP Rating: IP40/IP21 (Front/Rear)

IRiS IP3 and R2:

  • Panel Size: 500mm×500mm×100mm
  • Refresh Rate: 3840 Hz
  • Electronics Service: Front/Rear
  • Tool-less Swappable Power Module
  • Four-Section Magnetic LED Modules
  • Module Type: Magnetic, Universal
  • Panel Material: CNC + Cast Aluminum
  • Multiple Rigging Options
  • Curvature: 10° Concave to 5° Convex
  • Max Rigged Height: 20 panels
  • MSRP: $1,699.99

Manufacturer: Blizzard Lighting

More Info:





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