With the latest development of multimedia computing technologies, many different services have been provided and many different devices have been deployed. A diversity of media content formats have emerged in various applications. Multimedia delivery has been growing from single format video transmission over the monolithic data network to the complex content delivery and management across the heterogeneous chain of networks, devices, and users. The purpose of this thesis is to improve the efficiency of the multimedia content delivery and management under this heterogeneous chain. In principle, we focus on the adaptation related solutions based on the latest standard H.264/MPEG-4 Scalable Video Coding (SVC), in both perspectives of the algorithm and the architecture. Specifically, we firstly propose an in-network adaptation streaming architecture based on scalable video. To achieve an efficient and optimal adaptation result, the challenges of cross layer QoS mapping have been considered. The system is composed of a realtime H.264/MPEG-4 SVC encoder server, an in-network adaptation node assisted with MPEG-21 adaptation decision taking engine (ADTE), and a terminal with appropriate perceptual quality, network conditions and user preferences feedbacks. The design and implementation of the system investigates SVC delivery in the media aware in-network adaptation architecture. We also address the end user terminal design problem in the context of heterogeneous content distribution. Several aspects of a multimedia terminal comprising interoperability, adaptability, Quality of Service (QoS) control, intellectual property management and protection, and architectural complexity have been considered. We illustrate our design for the next generation multimedia terminal architecture in pervasive computing, aiming to maximize end user's perceptual experience and minimize resources. We further investigate from the security perspective in heterogeneous delivery. We propose an End-to-End key management system design addressing the issues of Digital Rights Management (DRM) super-distribution control, rights enforcement, domain management and inter-operability. We also consider secure renewability problem for compromised protection tools.