Improving error resilience of video communications over packet lossy channels is an important and tough task. We present a framework to optimize the quality of video communications based on distributed video coding (DVC) in practical packet lossy network scenarios. The peculiar characteristics of DVC indeed require a number of adaptations to take full advantage of its intrinsic robustness when dealing with data losses of typical real packet networks. This work proposes a new packetization scheme, an investigation of the best error-correcting codes to use in a noisy environment, a practical rate-allocation mechanism, which minimizes decoder feedback, and an improved side-information generation and reconstruction function. Performance comparisons are presented with respect to a conventional packet video communication using H.264/advanced video coding (AVC). Although currently the H.264/AVC rate-distortion performance in case of no loss is better than state-of-the-art DVC schemes, under practical packet lossy conditions, the proposed techniques provide better performance with respect to an H.264/AVC-based system, especially at high packet loss rates. Thus the error resilience of the proposed DVC scheme is superior to the one provided by H.264/AVC, especially in the case of transmission over packet lossy networks.