Nowadays multimedia applications emerge on portable devices everywhere. These applications typically have a number of stringent requirements. A first requirement is a high amount of computational power together with real-time performance. A second requirement is that they must be reconfigurable i.e. that the application or the characteristics of the application can be modified at will. The performance requirement often drives the design towards a hardware implementation while the reconfigurability requirements are better served by a software implementation.In this paper we try to reconcile these two requirements by exploring a third implementation option: FPGAs. By using an FPGA to implement the performance critical parts of an application we can achieve both the performance and the flexibility that is needed for multimedia applications.As a proof of concept we are designing a scalable wavelet video decoder. Through analytical means we explore the question of whether an FPGA implementation of this codec can be used to reach the performance goals and what their resource requirements are. We find that modern FPGAs offer enough computational power to obtain real-time performance of the decoder, but that reaching the necessary memory bandwidth will be a challenge during this design.