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Discrete wavelet transform (DWT) is increasingly recognized in image/video compression standards, as indicated by its use in JPEG2000. The lifting scheme algorithm is an alternative DWT implementation that has a lower computational complexity. In this paper, a new high performance lifting-based architecture with optimized error vs. hardware complexity is presented for DWT. The proposed architecture modifies the constant coefficients by introducing new variables to the conventional lifting structure to minimize hardware cost and quantization error. In order to achieve the most efficient coefficients, an optimization process has been implemented. Simulation results indicate an average quality improvement of 7.5 dB with the same hardware complexity/cost. Similarly, for achieving the same quality as the conventional hardware implementations the proposed architecture is 20% less complex. The appropriate coefficients can be determined according to the cost and error requirements of each application.