This paper provides an overview of the rationale of the Reconfigurable Media Coding framework developed by MPEG standardization committee to overcome the limits of traditional ways of providing decoder specifications. Such framework is an extension of the Reconfigurable Video coding framework now encompassing also 3D Graphics coding standard. The idea of this approach is to specify decoders using an actor dataflow based representation consisting of self-contained processing units (coding tools) connected altogether and communicating by explicitly exchanging data. Such representation provides a specification for which several properties of the algorithms interesting for codec implementations are explicitly exposed and can be used for exploring different implementation objectives. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.