This paper addresses the problem of optimal channel rate allocation for media streaming in active networks, where intermediate nodes are able to perform basic FEC decoding/encoding operations. FEC performance is analyzed in the case of hop-by-hop FEC protection, and compared with an end-to-end FEC scenario, in order to demonstrate the benefits of FEC operations in the intermediate nodes. An optimization problem is formulated, based on a distortion model for video streaming over lossy channels. Finally, the two streaming scenarios are compared in the particular case of MPEG-4 video, under a constrained end-to- end delay. FEC operations in intermediate nodes are shown to become especially useful when the links on the streaming path have quite heterogenous characteristics.