We present the design and VLSI implementation of a novel low-power bitstream-residual decoder for H.264/AVC baseline profile. It comprises a syntax parser, a parameter decoder, and an Inverse Quantization Inverse Transform (IQIT) decoder. The syntax parser detects and decodes each incoming codeword in the bitstream under the control of a hierarchical Finite State Machine (FSM); the IQIT decoder performs inverse transform and quantization with pipelining and parallelism. Various power reduction techniques, such as data-driven based on statistic results, nonuniform partition, precomputation, guarded evaluation, hierarchical FSM decomposition, TAG method, zero-block skipping, and clock gating , are adopted and integrated throughout the bitstream-residual decoder. With innovative architecture, the proposed design is able to decode QCIF video sequences of 30 fps at a clock rate as low as 1.5 MHz. A prototype H.264/AVC baseline decoding chip utilizing the proposed decoder is fabricated in UMC 0.18 m 1P6M CMOS technology. The proposed design is measured under 1 V 1.8 V supply with 0.1 V step. It dissipates 76 W at 1 V and 253 W at 1.8 V.