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The recently approved digital video standard known as H.264 promises to be an excellent video format for use with a large range of applications. Real-time encoding/decoding is a main requirement for adoption of the standard to take place in the consumer marketplace. Transformation and quantization in H.264 are relatively less complex than their correspondences in other video standards. Nevertheless, for real-time operation, a speedup is required for such processes. Especially after the recent proposal to use an 8×8 integer approximation of discrete cosine transform (DCT) to give significant compression performance at standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) resolutions. This paper discusses a high-performance hardware implementation of the H.264 simplified 8×8 transformation and quantization. The results show that the architecture satisfies the real-time constraints required by different digital video applications.