GREENSBURG, Pa. -- Sony Corp. of America has long-range plans to produce high-definition television sets at its western Pennsylvania plant and says the stagnant Japanese economy is not likely to stall the opening of the facility.
Sony Chairman Masaaki Morita, in a speech Thursday to the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce, said the company's dream for the plant under renovation near New Stanton is to have the world's most integrated television manufacturing facility.
Morita said the Japanese electronics giant is reconsidering some spending priorities but economic problems are not expected to affect development of the manufacturing plant.
'We won't change any of our direction at Westmoreland,' he said. 'The Pittsburgh project is one of the most important projects for our group. That will not change.'
Morita urged the audience of several hundred people for patience to let the operation grow. He said Sony is committed to the region but it may take 10 years to 'truly see the results of our efforts.'
'We need your understanding and cooperation to make our long-range plan for this plant successful,' he said.
Among Sony's plans are production of high-definition television sets, already being sold in Japan at prices far higher than those for conventional sets. European companies are preparing to market a competing system next year but the technology is not yet available to U. S. consumers.
The U.S. government is still debating technical standards for HDTV and how it should be broadcast. Broadcast signals will carry four to five times the amount of information now carried in television signals.
Sony officials have said previously that the plant would manufacture large-scale TV sets big enough to be used as home theaters.
Sony took control of the 800-acre site formerly occupied by Volkswagen of America nearly a year ago. The plant is scheduled to open next October and eventually will employ about 2,200 people.