Audio and video software for consumer media products can be quite complex, combining real-time signal processing, network protocols, complex I/O, and sophisticated user interfaces. In this paper, we examine some key aspects of implementing audio and video (A/V) software for consumer products. Our focus is on understanding and addressing often-overlooked or misunderstood challenges related to A/V software&#151challenges that are loaded with subtle complexity. The ideas and techniques presented here can make the difference between success and failure in a media product development effort. The ideas presented in this paper are based on years of hands-on experience in the development of audio and video software for set-top boxes, cell phones, PDAs, Internet appliances, and a variety of other products.