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The time-varying workload for multimedia applications poses a great challenge for the efficient performance of dynamic voltage scaling (DVS) algorithms. While many DVS algorithms have been proposed for real-time applications, there does not yet exist a systematic method for evaluating the optimality of such DVS algorithms. In this paper, we propose an offline linear programming (LP) method to determine the minimum energy consumption for processing multimedia tasks under stringent delay deadlines. Based on this lower bound, we evaluate the efficiency of various existing DVS algorithms. Furthermore, we modify the LP formulation to construct an online robust sequential linear programming DVS algorithm for real-time multimedia processing. Simulation results from decoding over a wide range of video sequences shows that on average, our online algorithm consumes less than 1% more energy than the optimal lower bound while dropping only 0.1% of all scheduled decoding jobs, while the existing best algorithm consumes roughly 3% more energy at the same miss rate.