User satisfaction is a key factor in the success of novel multimedia services. Yet, to enable service providers and network operators to control and maximize the quality (QoS, QoE) of delivered video streams, quite some challenges remain. In this paper, we particularly focus on three of them. First of all, objectively measuring video quality requires appropriate quality metrics and methods of assessing them in a real-time fashion. Secondly, the recent Scalable Video Coding (SVC) format opens opportunities for adapting video to the available (network) resources, yet the appropriate configuration of video encoding as well as real-time streaming adaptation are largely unaddressed research areas. Thirdly, while bandwidth reservation mechanisms in access/core networks do exist, service providers lack a means for guaranteeing QoS in the increasingly complex home networks (which they are not in full control of). In this paper we offer a broad view on these interrelated issues, by presenting the developments originating in a Flemish research project (including proof-of-concept demonstrations). From a developmental perspective, we propose an architecture combining a real-time video quality monitoring platform, on-the-fly adaptation (optimizing the video quality) and QoS reservation in a heterogeneous home network based on UPnP QoS v3. From a research perspective, we propose a new subjective test procedure that revealed user preference for temporal scalability over quality scalability. In addition, an extensive study on optimizing HD SVC encoding in IPTV scenarios with fluctuating bandwidth showed that under certain bandwidth constraints (prohibiting sufficient fidelity) spatial scalability is a better option than quality scalability.