Future desktop and portable computing systems will have as their core an integrated multimedia system. Such a system will seamlessly combine digital video, digital audio, computer animation, text, and graphics. Furthermore, such a system will allow for mixed-media creation, dissemination, and interactive access in real time. Multimedia architectures that need to support these functions have traditionally required special display and processing units for the different media types. This approach tends to be expensive and is inefficient in its use of silicon. Furthermore, such media-specific processing units are unable to cope with the fluid nature of the multimedia market wherein the needs and standards are changing and system manufacturers may demand a single component media engine across a range of products. This constraint has led to a shift towards providing a single-component multimedia specific computing engine that can be integrated easily within desktop systems, tethered consumer appliances, or portable appliances. In this paper, we review some of the recent architectural efforts in developing integrated media systems. We primarily focus on two efforts, namely the evolution of multimedia-capable general purpose processors and a more recent effort in developing single component mixed media co-processors. Design considerations that could facilitate the migration of these technologies to a portable integrated media system also are presented.