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A practical system approach for time-multiplexing cellular neural network (CNN) implementations suitable for processing large and complex images using small CNN arrays is presented. For real size applications, due to hardware limitations, it is impossible to have a one-on-one mapping between the CNN hardware cells and all the pixels in the image involved. This paper presents a practical solution by processing the input image, block by block, with the number of pixels in a block being the same as the number of CNN cells in the array. Furthermore, unlike other implementations in which the output is observed at the hard-limiting block, the very large scale integrated (VLSI) architecture hereby described monitors the outputs from the state node. While previous implementations are mostly suitable for black and white applications because of the thresholded outputs, our approach is especially suitable for applications in color (gray) image processing due to the analog nature of the state node. Experimental complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chip results in good agreement with theoretical results are presented.