This paper describes a novel approach to represent the rate-distortion characteristics of an encoded media. This work is distinguished by three key contributions. The first is the introduction of the concept of Data-Rate PSNR Information Table (DRPIT), which facilitates for very fast packet scheduling during video streaming. Rate-distortion characteristic of the compressed video is extracted during preprocessing and is stored as DRPIT. The second contribution is an efficient algorithm to compute DRPIT during preprocessing, which decreases the computation time drastically. The algorithm exploits the acyclic dependency of the independently decodable units of the compressed packetized media. The third contribution consists of the application of DRPIT in variable rate video streaming systems. Two different types of systems are explained using two specific implementations which are also used for performance validation of the proposed approach. Experimental results demonstrate that the systems using DRPIT provide 6-10 dB gain, relative to the systems that do not distinguish between individual packets and treat them equally.