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In a sharp shift,


has decided to make its popular "Streamer" real-time quote service available only to customers with funded accounts, the online broker announced Tuesday. Currently, registered users who do not have Datek accounts are able to use the service for free.

The change will affect 590,000 registered users of the service, according to a Datek announcement. Free access to the streamer will be phased out on March 31, the firm said. Datek also announced enhancements to the streamer service for its customers, including detailed Level II


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quotes (fees apply for nonpros who trade 20 or fewer times per month), automatic customized portfolio tracking, and real-time line graphs.

The Streamer service provides real-time quotes that "stream" on to your screen - obviating the need to hit "refresh," as with regular real-time quotes. While many brokers provide streaming quotes as a perk for their active trader customers, Datek has not only provided it to all customers, but also provided it to non-customers for free.

Customers can hold up to nine portfolios with 20 stocks each, while non-customers have been able to create nine portfolios with 10 stocks each.


's What Works column will be assembling a list of alternatives for fans of Datek's streamer. Please email your suggestions to, and please include your full name.