Multimedia coding technology, after about 20 years of active research, has delivered a rich variety of different and complex coding algorithms. Selecting an appropriate subset of these algorithms would, in principle, enable a designer to produce the codec supporting any desired functionality as well as any desired trade-off between compression performance and implementation complexity. Currently, interoperability demands that this selection process be hard-wired into the normative descriptions of the codec, or at a lower level, into a predefined number of choices, known as profiles, codified within each standard specification. This paper presents an alternative paradigm for codec deployment that is currently under development by MPEG, known as Reconfigurable Media Coding (RMC). Using the RMC framework, arbitrary combinations of fundamental algorithms may be assembled, without predefined standardization, because everything necessary for specifying the decoding process is delivered alongside the content itself. This side-information consists of a description of the bitstream syntax, as well as a description of the decoder configuration. Decoder configuration information is provided as a description of the interconnections between algorithmic blocks. The approach has been validated by development of an RMC format that matches MPEG-4 Video, and then extending the format by adding new chroma-subsampling patterns.