1,000 people in Dublin and Co Louth are being given free access to digital television services from today as part of a trial being conducted by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

The participants are being given boxes to place on their TV sets to enable them to view all of the Irish terrestrial channels and a selection of foreign ones.

The trial will run for 18 months.

The European Commission has proposed phasing out the current analogue television service and replacing it with digital terrestrial TV by 2012.