About 80% of Irish households will have access to digital television by autumn of next year, according to the Government.

Today marks the end of a trial period that saw 1,000 homes in Louth and Dublin use Digital Terrestrial Television for the first time.

Many Irish homes already have digital television, but around 24% still have an analogue signal, which is due to be switched off in 2012.

The trial ended with 84% of participants saying they were pleased with the service.

Viewers of DTT will have access to free-to-air channels RTÉ One and Two, TV3 and TG4.

They will also have the option of purchasing a package from the commercial company Boxer DTT. This means that viewers will have to pay a further subscription for channels, such as BBC and UTV, which they currently receive for free.

The precise cost of the set top box has not yet been confirmed but the Communications Minister Eamon Ryan has said it will be a low cost item.

The Department of Communications also plans to run a public information campaign on this issue next year.