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A general multiple description video coding (MDVC) framework based on hierarchical B pictures is proposed in this paper. Two or more descriptions are generated by employing the hierarchical B pictures of H.264/AVC scalable extension, where temporal-level-based key pictures are selected in a staggered way among different descriptions. Based on this hierarchical and staggered structure, inter-description redundancy control is studied to achieve a good central/side-distortion-rate tradeoff. Moreover, to better exploit multiple complementary descriptions, a linear combination of received descriptions is employed to optimize decoding results. This proposed MDVC framework is H.264/AVC-compliant for each temporal scalable description. Some existing temporal-splitting MDVC techniques can be considered as a degraded case in the proposed structure. Experimental results validate the effectiveness of the proposed design for MDVC.