Object-based media refers to the representation of audiovisual information as a collection of objects - the result of scene-analysis algorithms - and a script describing how they are to be rendered for display. Such multimedia presentations can adapt to viewing circumstances as well as to viewer preferences and behavior, and can provide a richer link between content creator and consumer. With faster networks and processors, such ideas become applicable to live interpersonal communications as well, creating a more natural and productive alternative to traditional videoconferencing. In this paper is outlined an example of object-based media algorithms and applications developed by my group, and present new hardware architectures and software methods that we have developed to enable meeting the computational requirements of object- based and other advanced media representations. In particular we describe stream-based processing, which enables automatic run-time parallelization of multidimensional signal processing tasks even given heterogenous computational resources.