Video on demand (VoD) and other video streaming and delivery mechanisms are provided using a messaging protocol (e.g., a session initiation protocol (SIP))-based approach that builds upon existing service delivery platforms. In one example, SIP functionality is extended to provide the ability to control and alter a delivery mode of a content stream, such as to change a playback mode or quality of service, by providing such requests as part of the instruction or payload of existing SIP messages, or by providing new SIP messages. Using SIP allows for third party control, such as by IPTV applications, which is not provided by current Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)-based systems. SIP also can establish a peer-to-peer connection between a client and a SIP-enabled content server to allow the client to directly control the media stream. As an advantage over RTSP, SIP provides for bi-directional messaging between SIP endpoints.