This paper investigates the transmission of H.264 /AVC video in the 3GPP Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Streaming service (MBMS). Application-layer forward error correction (FEC) codes are used to combat transmission errors in the radio access network. In this FEC protection scheme, the media RTP stream is organized into source blocks spanning many RTP packets, over which FEC repair packets are generated. This paper proposes a novel method for unequal error protection that is applicable in MBMS. The method reduces the expected tune-in delay when a new user joins into a broadcast. It is based on four steps. First, temporally scalable H.264 /AVC streams are coded including reference and non-reference pictures or sub-sequences. Second, the constituent pictures of a group of pictures (GOP) are grouped according to their temporal scalability layer. Third, the interleaved packetization mode of RFC3984 is used to transmit the groups in ascending order of relevance for decoding. As an example, the non-reference pictures of a GOP are sent earlier than the reference pictures of the GOP. Fourth, each group is considered a source block for FEC coding and the strength of the FEC is selected according to its importance. Simulations show that the proposed method improves the quality of the received video stream and decreases the expected tune-in delay.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.