MCI Seeks Cable-TV Partners

MCI Communications Corp. said April 18 that it is in talks with United States cable-television companies to pursue alliances as a means to reach individual homes or businesses with new services.

MCI had previously mentioned such alliances, but only hypothetically. A spokesman declined to identify the companies involved.

Many telephone executives are talking with cable-TV executives about partnerships now that the local telephone, long-distance telephone, and cable-TV industries are realizing their services might soon become redundant. All three industries can now sell each other's services. Hong Kong protests reporter's jailing

THE 12-year jail sentence a Chinese court gave to a Hong Kong-based reporter who scooped a financial story is ``wholly disproportionate,'' Gov. Chris Patten of Hong Kong said April 18.

Governor Patten said Hong Kong was widely concerned about Xi Yang, a reporter for the Chinese-langauge Ming Pao, who was jailed last month in China on charges of stealing state financial secrets.

Mr. Xi, a Chinese citizen, angered China's leadership by reporting planned interest-rate changes before an official announcement. He also reported on gold sales. A Chinese court last week rejected Xi's appeal. In US, relief for cable viewers

RELIEF is on the way for cable-television viewers whose videocassette recorders, special TV set features, and remote controls don't work the way they should.

The United States' Federal Communications Commission recently issued regulations to make cable set-up boxes compatible with consumer electronics devices. The regulations, designed to help US consumers, will be phased in starting May 31.

Most cable subscribers can't use the remote that comes with their TV, says Alan Stillwell, who helped write the new regulation: ``An operator generally turns off the remote capability in the [set-top] box if the subscriber doesn't rent a remote.'' As of July 31, cable companies won't be able to do that, and consumers will be able to buy a universal remote control.

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