Originally Posted by MTyson
What boggles my mind there are other similar size ones where sellers and sites have them listed at two or three thousand dollars and 14-16' wide ones for $5k or higher. Am I missing something or have they just been trying to rip off people?
Why would you pay $2-$3k for a 12' wide inflatable when you can buy one that looks nearly identical for $189.95?
You are missing something. While I cannot comment on the 12' wide ones directly, I can comment based on my 24' wide screen.
First off, the Gemmy is 10' 5" wide. While close to 12 feet, it in fact isn't 12 feet. The 12' wide screen will have a 32.7% larger surface area. This is kind of a bad stat anyway since the Gemmy isn't using a standard aspect ratio. It is using 1.6:1 which I don't see anywhere outside of digital still cameras or 16x10 computer monitors like the 1920x1200 LCD panels and direct view CRTs.. I think it would have been much better to run 1.78:1 which is HDTV. Either way, when comparing HD content, the difference in screen size will be even greater than the 32.7% since the Gemmy screen will have some surface area unused.
My screen came with 2 blowers, as does the Gemmy. I would assume that the blowers for my 24' screen are larger, but that is just an assumption right now. Either way, coming with 2 blowers is the way to do it and Gemmy got that right. Kudos there. Mine did come with a repair kit. Gemmy's does not. I think the repair kits are fairly cheap as a throw in for an expensive screen, but maybe not for a tight price point. Either way, a repair kit would have been nice.
Now, major differences with what I got and what the Gemmy is/has. I cannot comment on the "other screens" you mention because I don't know which models - you mention no names.
I have a DS-Pro. It has a detachable screen. The screen is also interchangable so I can put in different styles of screens should I need a different one. The screen I got with mine is acoustically transparent so I can run with my speakers behind the screen where they should be. (I haven't run tests yet to determine how acoustically transparent they are). The screen material I have is also somewhat wind resistant since it allows air to pass through.
Should I decide not to run the speakers behind the screen, I can use the same rig for rear projection. The frame on the DS Pro doesn't block any of the light path for the projector. I have seen many screens that can do rear projection, but you lose the last 1-1.5 feet of the screen on all sides due to the frame blocking the light path.
So, the DS in DS-Pro means Detachable Screen. The Pro means it is geared for the rental market. That means this screen is flat out as tough as they come. There is a masive durability factor here. I don't have a Gemmy, but my guess is that it is geared towards the home market crowd and not the rental market. Anything rental in this arena is just built to a different standard in durability. Thicker canvas tarp materials are more expensive to purchase, ship, work with, etc. It also lasts much longer.
One final note is economies of scale. If there were shipping hundreds or thousands of 24' wide screens per month, they would certainly be a lot cheaper. The reality is that smaller sizes are going to be produced in much, much larger quantities. They don't have to have as much engineering going into them and that engineering can be ammortized over more units - a double savings. Nothing is custom so template costs are also ammortized over a larger number of units.
It is very similar to when HDTV sets first came out. They were $10K and plasmas were $20K for 42" and not even HDTV resolution. Now, with the production in massive numbers, they are substantially cheaper. In that market, waiting has been a boon financially to new buyers.
In this market, however, waiting isn't a benefit. Materials are going up since it is petroleum based. My 24' screen went up $1,000 since I bought it. Unlike Gemmy who is ramping up production and trying to sell one of these to every house in the nation that has a back yard, what is the worldwide market for 24' wide or larger screens? You cannot put them in your yard unless you live on an estate sized lot. They take 2 people minimum to set up and take down so they are not really convenient (although massively convenient for their size compared to fixed structures). They also require one hell of a lot of lumens so standard projectors need not apply. I don't see economies of scale driving the prices on these down to really low numbers. Even if they did, this screen should pay itself off between now and then by making money as a rental or being used for other paying gigs. Remember, it is geared towards commercial use where it can generate revenue. The Gemmy, while nice for a home use, isn't really something that can be used for truly large audiences that would have the impact of a much, much larger screen.