Spurred by DirecTV’s 2007 declaration that it will be the world’s first television service provider to reach 100 HD channels, cable operators are moving rapidly to create additional bandwidth not only to carry dozens more linear HD channels, but also to provide hundreds, and eventually thousands, of HDVOD titles. The video quality bar is simultaneously rising due to the mass consumer adoption of large HDTV displays and the growing popularity of Blu-ray. This paper discusses the fundamental and elusive paradox of how to cost-effectively increase bandwidth efficiency without sacrificing video quality. Leveraging a concept from IP networking, Video Layer Quality of Service (Video Layer QoS) involves creating minimum and maximum video quality values at the service level, while adding the technical dimension of true Variable Bit Rate (VBR) constant quality video coding. Similarly, Video Layer QoS allows the optimization of bandwidth efficiency while guaranteeing the quality of service in a sustainable manner throughout the various switching, multiplexing and splicing stages of video communications networks. The paper also discusses the human visual perceptual system as well as related video processing and delivery aspects for a variety of digital video services.