This paper discusses the problem of reduced-resolution transcoding of compressed video bitstreams. An analysis of drift errors is provided to identify the sources of quality degradation when transcoding to a lower spatial resolution. Two types of drift error are considered: a reference picture error, which has been identified in previous works, and error due to the non-commutative property of motion compensation and down-sampling, which is unique to this work. To overcome these sources of error, four novel architectures are presented. One architecture attempts to compensate for the reference picture error in the reduced resolution, while another architecture attempts to do the same in the original resolution. We present a third architecture that attempts to eliminate the second type of drift error and a final architecture that relies on an intra block refresh method to compensate all types of errors. In all these architectures, a variety of macroblock level conversions are required, such as motion vector mapping and texture down-sampling. These conversions are discussed in detail. Another important issue for the transcoder is rate control. This is especially important for the intra refresh architecture since it must find a balance between number of intra blocks used to compensate errors and the associated rate-distortion characteristics of the low-resolution signal. The complexity and quality of the architectures are compared. Based on the results, we find that the intra refresh architecture offers the best trade-off between quality and complexity, and is also the most flexible.