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In this paper, a novel reconfigurable discrete cosine transform processor is proposed to perform the Shape-Adaptive DCT (SA-DCT) algorithm, which is a dominating computational kernel of various object-based video signal processing. The SA-DCT algorithm is analyzed in detail to capture important architecture design issues and then design efficient hardware architecture. A dynamically reconfigurable datapath is proposed to meet the run-time reconfigurable computational requirement of SA-DCT. Besides, a prototyping chip has been implemented to prove the feasibility of proposed architecture. This reconfigurable DCT processor supports complete functions of SA-DCT and therefore suitable for high-end and high-quality object-based video applications.