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A low complexity hierarchical quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) symbol bits allocation algorithm for unequal error protection of video transmission over wireless channels is proposed in this paper. An unequal error protection (UEP) scheme using hierarchical QAM, which takes into consideration the non-uniformly distributed importance of intracoded frame (I-frame) and predictive coded frame (P-frame) in a group of pictures (GOP), is first proposed. In order to optimally allocate the hierarchical QAM's high priority (HP), medium priority (MP) and low priority (LP) symbol bits to the H.264/AVC video, a generic solution for optimal allocation of hierarchical QAM's high priority (HP), medium priority (MP) and low priority (LP) symbol bits to the H.264/AVC video is then proposed. Finally, a low complexity symbol bits allocation algorithm, namely ranking search algorithm, which reduces the computational complexity of the proposed optimal symbol bits allocation algorithm, is proposed. Simulation results show that our proposed UEP scheme outperforms the classical equal error protection (EEP) scheme and also the previous UEP scheme.