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We present an adaptive scheme for forward error protection of any video coding standard. The channel coding rate changes according to the channel bit error rate (BER). The results are impressive. For instance, a PSNR gain of about 16.7 dB is obtained at BER = 10-2 for "Foreman" video sequence, encoded either by H.263 or by MPEG-4 and protected using the common scheme in comparison to the unprotected case. Being however this scheme common to all standards, it provides some acceptable video quality degradation. We have evaluated the quality degradation of the common solution in comparison to the optimal scheme of protection, which uses a finite number of channel codes. Additionally, we propose a protection solution tailored to H.263/MPEG-4 video coding with an average PSNR improvement of about 0.2 dB relatively to the above mentioned common solution.