Can't speak on TD since I don't have experience with their data. I use Kinetick. Pay the small fee for the data. Since the data is what you use to trade and make decisions and money, don't try to spare expense in this area. Just my 2 c....
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I run both IB and TDA using time based charts on a 75Mbps ISP. Visually the speeds are the same since one might post a few milliseconds faster on one bar while the opposite occurs on the next bar. Actual bars differ ever so slightly (maybe one in ten) due to the way IB builds the bars but my signals are the same. I use TDA since data is free with a $2000 acct deposit and it runs fine on the free Quotetracker platform. I use IB for all my trades since I use OCO's and I like all my order legs residing on their server and not my computer. I find IB data more reliable than TDA since I have experienced gaps in the past with TDA but I have to admit this has been much less a problem the past year.
I use TDA with Quotetracker and Sierra Charts on one computer for swing-traded, leveraged ETF's, and I use IB with Sierra Charts for futures on the second computer. I also use NT with Zen-Fire on the second computer but only with Market Analyzer . . no charts. I don't use NT with charts since it is significantly slower switching charts than SC. SC is almost instantaneous with nine charts . . with NT I wait. I had used NT the past couple of years but a couple of months ago I swtiched to SC and find it superior in speed and now prefer it for charts. I also like the DOM coupled with the chart trading. Another advantage of SC is that you can load it on two computers with the same subscription.
Actual data speed is not as important to me as reliability. Since I don't scalp for a few ticks, slippage is just noise and can actually work in my favor at times.
Just my two cents on the topics you mentioned above . . hope it helps.
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