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Recent advances in technology have resulted in a significant growth in wireless communications and widespread access to information via the Internet, which have resulted in a strong demand for reliable transmission of video data. The challenge of robust video transmission is to protect the compressed data against hostile channel conditions while bringing little impact on bandwidth efficiency. In motion-compensated video-coding schemes, such as MPEG-1 or MPEG-2, an I frame normally is followed by several P frames and possibly B frames in a group-of-pictures (GOP). In error-prone environments, error happening in the previous frames in a GOP may propagate to all the following frames until the next I frame, which is the beginning of the next GOP. In this paper, we propose a novel GOP structure for robust transmission of MPEG video bitstream. By selecting the optimal position of the I frame in a GOP, robustness can be achieved without reducing any coding efficiency. Another advantage of the proposed GOP structure is also analyzed: compared with the conventional GOP structure, it provides reverse-play operation for MPEG video streaming with much less requirement on the network bandwidth. Experimental results demonstrate both the robustness of the proposed GOP structure and the efficient reverse-play functionality it leads to.