With the introduction of faster processors and special instruction sets tailored to multimedia, a number of exciting applications are now feasible on the desktops. Among these is the DVD playback consisting, among other things, of MPEG-2 video and Dolby digital audio or MPEG-2 audio. Other multimedia applications such as video conferencing and speech recognition are also becoming popular on computer systems. In view of this tremendous interest in multimedia, a group of major computer companies have formed, Multimedia Benchmarks Committee as part of Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. to address the performance issues of multimedia applications. The approach is multi-tiered with three tiers of fidelity from minimal to full compliant. In each case the fidelity of the bitstream reconstruction as well as quality of the video or audio output are measured and the system is classified accordingly. At the next step the performance of the system is measured. In many multimedia applications such as the DVD playback the application needs to be run at a specific rate. In this case the measurement of the excess processing power, makes all the difference. All these make a system level, application based, multimedia benchmark very challenging. Several ideas and methodologies for each aspect of the problems will be presented and analyzed.