With tremendous increase in the popularity of networked multimedia applications, video data is expected to account for a large portion of the traffic on the Internet and more importantly next-generation wireless systems. To be able to satisfy a broad range of customers requirements, two major problems need to be solved. The first problem is the need for a scalable representation of the input video. The recently developed scalable extension of the state-of-the art H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video coding standard, also known as H.264/SVC (Scalable Video Coding) provides a solution to this problem. The second problem is that wireless transmission medium typically introduce errors in the bit stream due to noise, congestion and fading on the channel. Protection against these channel impairments can be realized by the use of forward error correcting (FEC) codes. In this research study, the performance of scalable video coding in the presence of bit errors is studied. The encoded video is channel coded using Reed Solomon codes to provide acceptable performance in the presence of channel impairments. In the scalable bit stream, some parts of the bit stream are more important than other parts. Parity bytes are assigned to the video packets based on their importance in unequal error protection scheme. In equal error protection scheme, parity bytes are assigned based on the length of the message. A quantitative comparison of the two schemes, along with the case where no channel coding is employed is performed. H.264 SVC single layer video streams for long video sequences of different genres is considered in this study which serves as a means of effective video characterization. JSVM reference software, in its current version, does not support decoding of erroneous bit streams. A framework to obtain H.264 SVC compatible bit stream is modeled in this study. It is concluded that assigning of parity bytes based on the distribution of data for different types of frames provides optimum performance. Application of error protection to the bit stream enhances the quality of the decoded video with minimal overhead added to the bit stream.