A novel image transmission scheme is proposed for the communication of SPIHT image streams over wireless channels. The proposed scheme employs turbo codes and Reed-Solomon codes in order to deal effectively with burst errors. An algorithm for the optimal unequal error protection of the compressed bitstream is also proposed and applied in conjunction with an inherently more efficient technique for product code decoding. The resulting scheme is tested for the transmission of images over wireless channels. Experimental evaluation clearly demonstrates the superiority of the proposed transmission system in comparison to well-known robust coding schemes.