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We present a scheme for real-time digital HDTV video decoding suitable for DVB or ATSC set-top boxes. Our technique is based on a dual decoding datapath controlled in two fixed-scheduling combinations with an efficient memory interface scheme for anchor pictures. Unlike other decoding approaches such as the slice bar decoding method and the crossing-divided method, our scheme reduces memory access contention problem to achieve real-time HDTV decoding without a high cost in overall decoder buffers, architecture, and bus. Our simulation shows that with a relatively low rate 81 MHz clock, our decoder can decode MPEG-2 MP@HL HDTV in real-time, based on a video format of 1920 × 1080 pixels/frame at 30 frames/s, at a bit rate of 18-22 Mbps.