84 Randy Blue Review
A frequently updated collection of more than 1260 exclusive videos, excellent digital photo galleries, and a large archive of live shows. Upsells to live chat.
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MP4 (download); 1280x720; 3400k (60% of videos)
WMV (download); 960x540; 2000k (60% of videos)
Flash (stream); 960x540; ?_k (60% of videos)
Review date: January 2014
Randy Blue has served up over 100 new videos a year since it launched in 2002 and now has over 1300 in total. Since Randy started out as a professional photographer, the images on Randy Blue are outstanding - and he carries over that attention to detail in his videos. But in the past couple years there's been a real push for the live chat; the constant upsells to it can grow tiresome.
Randy Blue's tour is very thorough, though not totally transparent. There are links on top for the most important areas: Models, Videos, and Photos. Mouse over these and a partial inventory of the contents will pop up. Click to see the entire video index and pick a preview clip from any of the many episodes.
Throughout the tour you'll find that the right side of the page is dominated by ads for the live chat feature. This is indicative of what you'll find inside the members' area. There's a link to "Shows Archive" but there have been no free, full-length live shows since mid-2012. Also, while the tour asserts that there is a mobile version of the site ("RB Mobile") included with your membership, it's not the case: videos will indeed play on a smart phone or tablet, but there is no easy-to-navigate mobile interface.
While sometimes still a bit too heavy on iconography, navigating Randy Blue is pretty easy. Each area of the site is equipped with thoughtful search tools and cross-referencing of videos, models and images to help you explore the masses of content. There's a blurb on each video as you mouse over it. On the tool bar of the home page you will see the buttons for the inventory of models, videos, live show archives, and digital image galleries. Individual video pages offer options such as emailing, sharing and downloading a video in many formats and sizes. With streams, use the video control bar to choose the quality and the expand/contract button to control the size.
There is almost no help information on the site. Even though there were links to "Video FAQ" and "Member Support" there was no info on these pages when you clicked through to them, though you can manage your account, submit a help request from or telephone for assistance.
The Men and the Action
Randy attracts very good looking models in the 18-30 age range from all over the United States. Although the majority of the guys are Caucasian, there's a healthy share of Latinos, African-American and Asians. The most popular models have appeared in a number of videos over the years, particularly some of the lavishly produced epics that were released with much publicity and fanfare. There have now been more than 570 guys starring in solo and hardcore scenes shot indoors and out, in all sorts of locations around Southern California.
The viewing quality of Randy Blue videos is generally very good, especially those rendered in HD. Camera work, light and sound are topnotch throughout -- and the money shots are never missed. We did have an issue with the Flash streams in that they would sometimes blur, but by right-clicking on the video and unchecking "allow hardware acceleration" the problem cleared up (they are working on a permanent fix to the problem.)
At review time there were 570 models appearing in more than 1260 videos. About one third of the videos are duos or groups, pairing up the models in often highly anticipated combinations. This huge site is updated with exclusive video three times a week and it is now all DRM-free.
There are numerous options for viewing videos. The following specs apply to the most recent 65% of videos, which have been upgraded to true high-definition.
You can stream in Flash, choosing from three different qualities and viewing at three different sizes (contracted, expanded and full-screen). The "expanded" size is 960x540 pixels;
Download in MP4 format in four sizes, the best of which is 1280x720 pixels, 3400 kbps.
Download in Windows Media format in four sizes; the best of which is 960x540 pixels; 2000 kbps;
The older 35% of videos are available in the same formats, but max out at 1,000 kpbs, playing in a 836x470 or 640x480 window.
Screens: While there isn't a mobile version of the site design, the videos will still stream nicely on your phone or tablet. The high-definition versions look good on the big screen.
Image and Other Content
Some websites don't put much care into photos, but Randy Blue is different. Because his background is in photography his professional quality digital image galleries - almost 1780 - are second to none. They can be viewed in three different modes, and either one at a time or in slideshow mode. But they still can't be downloaded in a zip file.
The free, no holds barred live shows used to be a regular feature of Randy Blue, but this has evolved into "RB Live" chat which only gives you very tame content until you pony up chat credits. There are no recent shows in the "Shows Archives"; as far as we can tell the most recent is from 2012.
Randy Blue is a treasure trove of handsome, masculine men in very good quality exclusive videos and photos. The site design is handsome and functional, but the old, totally free live shows have been replaced by upsells to private live chat.
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Randy Blue is operated by Max Pixels LLC and has been online since 2002.