In this paper, we present an error-resilient channel-optimized coder for the transmission of video over noisy channels. The proposed coder uses a robust channel-optimized trellis-coded quantization (COTCQ) stage that is designed to optimize the video coding based on the channel characteristics. The resilience to channel errors is obtained only at the level of the source encoder, with no explicit use of channel coding. The robust nature of the coder increases the security level of the encoded bit stream, and eliminates impulsive artifacts induced by channel errors. A novel adaptive classification scheme is employed, which eliminates the need for entropy coding and motion compensation. Consequently, the proposed channel-optimized video coder is especially suitable for wireless video transmission due to its reduced complexity, its robustness to nonstationary signals and channels, and its increased security level. Simulation results are presented to illustrate the performance of the proposed video coder for a wide variety of channel conditions, without the use of error concealment techniques.