The only other way I could think of doing it other then Java is using a <marquee></marquee> tag on some SSI'd file off of a website that provides the java marquee (if you check the source, sometimes it references a file that it updates or something.)
The code would look something like this:
THIS ONLY WORKS IN IE, though, so I would recommend just using an applet instead. As for people who provide them, the only one I know of is http://www.moreover.net (advertised on SitePoint.com), and they don't do tickers but real news page that plugin to your site.
Good luck on your search, though!