The pursuit of stable performance led to Philips' development of the single-beam swing arm system. Imposing a couterweight (balancing weight) on the side facing the optical lens block enables the system to adjust the weight distribution and move the optical system usigin relatively minimal power. It also facilitated increased structural precision and, perhaps even more importantly, allowed overall movement to be controlled using highly versatile analog servo circuitry. CDs are irradiated with a 780nm red laser beam from the polycarbonate resin substrate side, and whether the digital data is "0" or "1" is determined by an increase or decrease in the reflection of the laser beam. Thus, extremely accurate optical technology (lens design, lens fabrication, special coatings, and precise assembly) is required for the small optical pickup block.

The company placed in charge of this was the respected German optical manufacturer Rodenstock. Philips has used extravagant glass-backed optical lens blocks designed by Rodenstock in all of their high-grade drive mechanisms beginning with the Philips CDM0.