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This paper describes a new architecture and implementation of an adaptive streaming system (e.g., television over IP, video on demand) based on cross-layer interactions. At the center of the proposed architecture is the meet in the middle concept involving both bottom-up and top-down cross layer interactions. Each streaming session is entirely controlled at the RTP layer where we maintain a rich context that centralizes the collection of (i) instantaneous network conditions measured at the underlying layers (i.e.: link, network, and transport layers) and (ii) user- and terminal-triggered events that impose new real-time QoS adaptation strategies. Thus, each active multimedia session is tied to a broad range of parameters, which enable it to coordinate the QoS adaptation throughout the protocol layers and thus eliminating the overhead and preventing counter-productiveness among separate mechanisms implemented at different layers. The MPEG-21 framework is used to provide a common support for implementing and managing the end-to-end QoS of audio/video streams. Performance evaluations using peak signal to noise ratio (PSNR) and structural similarity index (SSIM) objective video quality metrics show the benefits of using the proposed Meet In the Middle cross-layer design compared to traditional media delivery approaches.