No, editing out commercials with VRD won't affect the average bit rate. I am not doing anything special to get above speeds - those are pretty normal for S3 series Tivos that I am using. The THD/HDXL units are still a little slower than that. They used to be about half the speed of S3s when they first came out but have improved quite a bit since, but the S3s are still faster. With my HDXL unit I can't quite stream real time the ABC HD recordings, but it's usually not an issue with my S3 units (unless they are very loaded at the time). You can improve speed a little by tuning to channels you don't receive thus alleviating load on your Tivo but of course that won't do if you happen to be recording something at the time while you stream.