Comcast’s newest upgrade is an app that can be used by those beyond its current pay-TV and Internet customer base.

The beta version of the cable and broadband company’s Watchable video app, launched today for iOS and on Watchable.com — as well as for Xfinity X1 set-top boxes — collects many top video sites including AwesomenessTV, Buzzfeed, CNBC, Discovery Digital Networks, GoPro, Machinima, Maker Studios, Mashable and Scripps Networks Interactive.

Users need to sign up and create an account, but they need not be Comcast customers. Content is supported by advertising and is organized in categories such as Auto, Entertainment, Fashion & Style, Food & Travel, Funny, Gaming, Music, News, Science & Technology and Sports.

“The web has changed the way we all think about video,” said Sam Schwartz, Comcast’s chief business development officer of Comcast Cable in TV said in a post on Comcast’s corporate blog.  “A new class of online creators and producers is developing innovative content that is attracting big audiences.  We want to continue to connect creators of compelling content with viewers who want to be entertained, and have been experimenting with new partnerships to deliver more high-quality videos from the web, especially to the television.”

A double-whammy of customers who are frustrated with traditional pay TV and those who never get pay-TV service is driving Comcast to experiment, says Steve Beck, managing partner at management consultancy firm cg42. “Younger customers in particular are moving away from the traditional TV distribution model and getting more content from over-the-top providers, such as Netflix, as well as Internet players like YouTube,” he said. “When you have a legacy company whose customers are experiencing a high degree of frustration, an audience that is actively seeking alternatives, and a whole generation not opting into the old model, this poses a difficult situation for a provider such as Comcast.”

With Watchable, Beck said, “ultimately, the content will be the determining factor of whether this platform is successful.”

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider

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