Sky's director of broadband and telephony has told TechRadar that she believes the BBC-backed IPTV project YouView will stay a niche product for "quite some time".

Speaking to TechRadar as the company released a major survey into internet usage, Delia Bushel said that the likely impact of YouView was being overstated.

She believes that the premium nature of YouView will mean that it does not become the type of hit that Freeview has.

At a premium

"A Freeview set top box costs £25, whereas a YouView box will cost around £299 which makes it a premium proposition and not an off-the-shelf solution," said Bushel.

"We may be in danger of exaggerating the impact that [YouView] will have – I think it will be a niche product for quite some time."

The growth of IPTV is likely to put a major strain on Britain's ageing infrastructure – something that the likes of BT are taking steps to avoid by investing heavily in a fibre optic network and by introducing the Content Connect scheme that pushes bandwidth costs onto content providers.

But Sky is confident that its DSL network will be able to cope with increased pressure, as it prepares to launch its own VOD over internet service Sky Anytime+.

Next year

YouView is set to arrive in the first half of 2011, and will bring video on demand from all of the major terrestrial broadcasters, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five, who are partners in the project.

Other members include Arqiva, BT and Talk Talk – with the latter two both major broadband providers in the UK.

YouView – formerly known as Project Canvas – is still mired in controversy, and communications watchdog Ofcom is still considering complaints from the likes of Sky and Virgin Media.

The recent changes to Ofcom have delayed any decision, but TechRadar understands it is expected some time next week.