Power line communication (PLC) systems are known as the most rapidly enhancing technologies within the smart grid scope due to offering remarkable cost efficiency by decreasing the transmission device requirement. In this study, image transmission performance of low-density parity-check (LDPC) coded communication systems that is based on a realistic PLC channel model is proposed. Very long-term experimental measurements are carried out to acquire the most accurate PLC channel characteristics from a practical grid. A mathematical PLC channel model is derived and the parameters of this model are optimized by using genetic algorithm. The simulation results obtained over the modeled PLC channel have shown that perfect image transmission can be provided by the help of the LDPC coding. The results of this study also emphasize that the proposed system can be employed for image transmission over power lines in the smart grids for security or other purposes. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.