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In this work, we introduce an approach for minimizing the total power consumption of a mobile transmitter due to source compression, channel coding and transmission subject to a fixed end-to-end source distortion. We illustrate our approach both on an abstract class of sources and channels and on a realistic H.263 video transmission system through a wireless channel. Performance under different channel environments and implementation schemes are investigated. Our numerical analysis shows that optimized settings can reduce the total power consumption by a significant factor and prolong battery life considerably compared with fixed parameter settings.