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Multiple description coding (MDC) makes use of redundant representations of multimedia data to achieve resiliency. Descriptions should be generated so that the quality obtained when decoding a subset of them only depends on their number and not on the particular received subset. In this paper, we propose a method based on the principle of encoding the source at several rates, and properly blending the data encoded at different rates to generate the descriptions. The aim is to achieve efficient redundancy exploitation, and easy adaptation to different network scenarios by means of fine tuning of the encoder parameters. We apply this principle to both JPEG 2000 images and H.264/AVC video data. We consider as the reference scenario the distribution of contents on application-layer overlays with multiple-tree topology. The experimental results reveal that our method favorably compares with state-of-art MDC techniques.