Really, it doesn't get all that much physically simpler than a low end receiver. In one box you get a preamplifier, surround sound processor, multiple channels of amplification, an HDMI switch, possibly an upscaler, possibly room correction, possibly an audio streaming device... And all this for a few hundred bucks.
Now, that being said you can switch to a really low end box, one that doesn't have the upscaling and networking and room correction features. However, I have to say that once things are set up, there isn't a lot that needs to be done in order to actually use even a higher end receiver. Turn on the tv, receiver and source, choose the input if necessary and enjoy. You can even shortcut that with many devices by enabling HDMI control (different manufacturers have different names for this, and it tends to work best if your devices are from the same maker) which can be used to have multiple devices power up in response to one device doing so.