We present a high performance implementation of a MPEG decoder, written entirely on a high level language. The decoder implementation fully complies with the MPEG-I standard and decodes all (I, P, B) frame types in MPEG video bitstreams and is portable. Versions of this decoder are implemented on Windows 3.1, and on Windows NT (X86, MIPS, ALPHA). A comparison of the performance of the decoder between the various platforms is made. We present a high quality, fast dithering and interpolation algorithm used to convert YCbCr directly into 8 bit palletized images. We propose a new method called Collaborative Compression, of dealing with compression and decompression tasks at a very low cost to achieve 30 fps SIF performance for desktop applications. Collaborative Compression is a systems approach to partitioning the functionality between CPU-centric (i.e. software) and hardware-assist (VLSI) in order to achieve the optimal cost solution. The CPU provides glue programmability to tie the accelerated and non-accelerated parts of the algorithm together. The advent of high bandwidth, low latency busses (VL Bus and PCI) enable a high speed data pathway between the distributed computational elements.