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The rapid development of multimedia techniques has increased the demands on multimedia processors. This paper presents a new design method to quickly design high performance processors for new multimedia applications. In this approach, a configurable processor based on the very long instruction-set word architecture is used as the basic core for designers to easily configure new processor cores for multimedia algorithm. Specific instructions designed for multimedia applications efficiently improve the performance of the target processor. Functions not implemented in the digital signal processor (DSP) core can be easily integrated into the target processor as user-defined hardware to increase the performance. Several examples are given based on the architecture. The results show that the processor performance is enhanced approximately 4 times on the H.263 codec and that the processor outperforms both DSPs and single instruction multiple data (SIMD) multimedia extension architectures by up to 8 times when computing the 2-D-IDCT.